‘Monumental’ fine wine collection to be auctioned in three cities

A “monumental” collection of fine wines is to be auctioned by Sotheby’s in London, New York and Hong Kong this spring.

Spanning “every category of wine from the best vinous areas of the world,” the sales will span 1,290 lots and is expected to raise in excess of £4.3 million (US$5.3m/HK$41.1m).

The first part of the sale will take place in New York on 25 March, the second in London on 29 March and the third and final part in Hong Kong on 1 April.

Serena Sutcliffe MW, honorary chairman of Sotheby’s Wine, said: “Everyone who has ever wished to experience for themselves wines that are flagships in their genre will find what they want in these auctions. The first growths are stunning, the DRC is breathtaking, there are grands crus galore and glorious North and South Rhônes.

“Both professionals and knowledgeable amateurs will find everything they have ever imagined putting in their cellar or, even better, pouring in their glass.”

Stephen Mould, head of wine for Sotheby’s Europe, added: “The owner, an avid collector and lover of wine, has selected some incredible wines from his star-studded cellars for these three auctions, enabling enthusiasts to share in his passion for the most sought after vintages.

“With sales in New York, London and Hong Kong, buyers from all corners of the globe will have a unique opportunity to purchase rarities from a dream-like collection. Focusing on the finest wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux, with other gems making an appearance in a range of formats from half bottles to imperials, this is a collection which should not be missed.”

Highlights from the sales include Masseto in a variety of formats between 2004 and 2011 in New York, Ermitage, Hermitage and Côte Rôtie in London and ‘historic’ claret from the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘70s in Hong Kong.

Further standout lots include:

New York:

  • Chambertin, Clos de Bèze 1985, Domaine Armand Rousseau, 4 bottles, est. $9,500-12,000 (lot 20)
  • La Tâche 1989, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, 1 Methuselah, est. $15,000-19,000 (lot 46)
  • Vosne Romanée, Cros Parantoux 1990, Henri Jayer, 1 bottle, est. $7,500-10,000 (lot 97)
  • Musigny 1990, Domaine Georges Roumier, 6 bottles, est. $26,000-32,000 (lot 137)
  • Latour 1945, 1 Magnum, est. $6,000-8,000 (lot 272)
  • Yquem 1945, 1 Magnum, est. $4,000-5,000 (lot 301)
  • Masseto 2006, 1 Imperial, est. $5,500-7,000 (lot 193)
  • Masseto 2008, 1 Magnum, est. $850-1,100 (lot 213)
  • Vega Sicilia ‘Unico’ 1970, 12 bottles, est. $9,000-12,000 (lot 339)

London:

  • Romanée Conti 1959 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, 1 Magnum, £12,000-16,000 (lot 36)
  • Echézeaux 1985 Henri Jayer, 1 Magnum, est. £8,000-10,000 (lot 48)
  • Echézeaux 1990 Henri Jayer, 6 bottles, est. £22,000-28,000 (lot 49)
  • Montrachet 2007, Domaine des Comtes Lafon, 5 bottles, est. £3,600-4,600 (lot 342)
  • Latour 1929, 1 Magnum, est. £4,000-5,200 (lot 1)
  • Cheval Blanc 1947, 1 Double Magnum, est. £50,000-65,000 (lot 4)
  • La Mission Haut Brion 1955, 7 bottles, est. £7,000-9,000 (lot 8)
  • Hermitage La Chapelle 1959 Paul Jaboulet Aîné, 3 bottles, est. £4,600-5,800 (lot 59)
  • Château de Beaucastel, Hommage à Jacques Perrin 2005, 6 bottles, est. £1,200-1,600 (lot 395)

Hong Kong:

  • Haut Brion 1928, 6 bottles, est. HK$ 55,000-75,000 / US$ $7,000-9,500 (lot 6243)
  • Lafite 1949, 4 Magnums, est. HK$ 65,000-85,000 / US$8,000-10,000 (lot 6175)
  • Margaux 1959, 12 bottles, est. HK$ 70,000-90,000 / US$9,000-11,000 (lot 6205)
  • Palmer 1961, 12 bottles, est. HK$ 160,000-220,000 / US$ 20,000-28,000 (lot 6282)
  • La Tâche 1978, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, 3 bottles, est. HK$ 60,000-80,000 / US$7,500-10,000 (lot 6034)
  • Echézeaux 1978, Henri Jayer, 1 Magnum, est. HK$ 100,000-140,000 / US$12,000-18,000 (lot 6050)
  • Vosne Romanée, Cros Parantoux 1978, Henri Jayer, 1 Magnum, est. HK$ 100,000-140,000 / US$12,000-$18,000 (lot 6055)
  • Corton Charlemagne 2002, J.-F. Coche-Dury, 6 bottles, est. HK$ 90,000-120,000 / US$11,000-15,000 ( lot 6136)
  • Hermitage, La Chapelle 1961, Paul Jaboulet Aîné, 12 bottles, est. HK$ 800,000-1,000,000 / US$100,000-120,000 (lot 6434)
  • Sassicaia 1985, 3 Magnums, est. HK$ 50,000-65,000 / US$6,000-8,000 (lot 6467)
  • Vega Sicilia ‘Unico’ 1942, 6 bottles, est. HK$ 42,000-55,000 / US$5,000-7,000 (lot 6499)
  • Vega Sicilia ‘Unico’ 1953, 6 bottles, est. HK$ 32,000-42,000 / US$4,000-5,000 (lot 6498)

3 Responses to “‘Monumental’ fine wine collection to be auctioned in three cities”

  1. Sam Coleridge says:

    The 1959 Romanée-Conti has a Joseph Drouhin strip label on it, which is unusual. I haven’t seen this before with this wine.

    Why would a DRC domaine-bottled wine have a Drouhin label on it?

    Indeed, the last time I did see a Drouhin label on a DRC RC bottle it was the handiwork of Rene Dehn and Malene Meisner of The White Club – and we all know what happened there…

    If you’re responsible journalists, you should ask Sotheby’s about this bottle and why it has that Drouhin label.

    • Rupert Millar says:

      As Drouhin both bottled and distributed quite a lot of Domaine de la Romanée’Conti’s wines during the course of the 1920s-1950s there’s absolutely nothing strange about a bottle from the estate at this period having a Drouhin strip label, nonetheless Sotheby’s have decided to withdraw the lot in question from the sale. Its statement:

      “Our research to date confirms that this magnum number was sold by Domaine de la Romanée-Conti to Drouhin. Our preliminary review of the printing of the front, back and neck labels does not indicate that this is unauthentic. However, we are conducting further research and have decided to withdraw it from the auction.”

      Rupert Millar

  2. Sam Coleridge says:

    I very much agree that definitive conclusions cannot be drawn from photographs. And it’s a very nebulous subject anyway… The assertions made on the Wine Berserkers site (always based solely on images) are embarrassingly over-confident and often recklessly incorrect. I sympathise with some of the people against whom entirely false accusations have been made.

    Nonetheless, the neck label looks much cleaner than the main label and the wax capsule also looks unexpectedly youthful. These non sequiturs should make an auctioneer or buyer at least pause for thought.

    I don’t doubt the veracity of the Crum book that you cite, Rupert. But “quite a lot” of DRC’s wines from the 1920s to the 1950s now equates to “bugger all”. How many magnums of RC with Drouhin labels were produced in 1959? Not very many, I suspect. And how many have survived intact for 58 years? Even fewer. The 1959 yield of 9,627 bottles was very high: as a recent point of comparison, the 1999 vintage yielded 6,917 bottles. But in relative terms it’s still not a lot of wine. Don’t know how many magnums were made.

    In over a decade of auction-watching, -selling, and -buying I have never seen any DRC bottles with Drouhin neck labels – except for the aforementioned White Club travesty, which in all likelihood was a forgery. Maybe there are still a few sleeping soundly in nice dark cellars somewhere. In truth, it seems improbable.

    There are, at first glance, inconsistencies with the look of this magnum. Sotheby’s has traced it back to DRC itself, which is great – but where else has it been? Without a paper trail it’s hard to assert the integrity of the provenance. It’s unlikely that the magnum went straight from the domaine or Drouhin to the present consignor; probably it’s been traded a few times in its life. But where and when? You would think that a purchase of this magnitude would be recalled by the owner and they’d be happy to state the source and, if retained, produce receipts. If not, then people are forced to take it at face value – and in this instance it’s not entirely convincing.

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