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Mystery millionaire’s Burgundy for sale

With the release of some extremely rare Burgundy, a London merchant is offering a tantalising glimpse into a multi-millionaire’s cellar.

One of the cellars at Domaine Leroy

Justerini & Brooks has just released “a mouth-watering collection of mature Burgundies” dating from 1988 and with Domaine Leroy in a starring role. Chadwick Delaney, J&B’s MD, told the drinks business it was: “a tiny parcel of one of the biggest cellars we’ve ever worked with.”

Delaney has been involved since the unnamed collector approached the merchant fifteen years ago. “He spent many, many millions of pounds. It was all French, basically Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne, and really was a ‘money no object’ exercise. He came into wine late in life and is one of the richest men in the world.”

The most expensive item is a case of 1998 Domaine Leroy Chambertin grand cru at £14,400.

“These are unbelievably rare wines,” said Chadwick. “We are official importers of Domaine Leroy and hold £200 million in customers’ reserve. We get an en primeur allocation and the people who buy it, keep it and drink it.”

Lalou Bize-Leroy tending her vines

Describing Leroy’s style as “intensely concentrated, very fleshy and almost decadent,” Chadwick explained that its owner, Lalou Bize-Leroy, keeps yields as low as 9hl/ha.

“Her premier crus are like most people’s grand crus, and her grand crus are transcendental. The vast majority of people who buy Leroy are extremely rich collectors. If it were speculators buying it, you would see it traded a lot more than it is.”

“There’s no doubt Burgundy sales have been growing exponentially, but I don’t think it’s speculative,” Chadwick continued.

Aside from the heavily traded Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, he believes the wines are protected by their rarity and complexity.

“I would hate for Burgundy to repeat what happened to Bordeaux.” Yet as Charles Lachaux of Domaine Arnaud-Lachaux told the drinks business: “Everybody says they want to be cautious, but when you look at the prices they’re not. Money drives people crazy.”

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