I haven’t bought any wine through Sotheby’s for the best part of ten years – I certainly don’t have a catalogue subscription. Last week, despite that latter minor detail, a hardbacked catalogue arrived – it must have cost a fortune to send given that the auction is in Hong Kong. The Coulthard-jawed ‘wife of Saruman’ smiles from the the introduction – actually she could be from from Hong Kong!
The USP of this sale is 2,800 bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s finest. Mainly in wooden cases and many sourced directly from the domaine – apparently. If I’m honest I have the impression of bling and ostentation – the estimates are modest by recent standards so I expect they are clearly under-estimates.
I guess that auctions are two-edged swords for some; the domaine would probably have been happy at such a profile-raiser in the 1970s, 1980s and even much of the 1990s, but of-course the boot is on the other foot today when they could probably sell ten times what they currently produce – people can have short memories. Given the domaine’s harsh stance of ‘disenfranchising’ those caught selling their recent meagre allocations I assume they are not too impressed by this and the seller concerned will not be welcome at the domaine’s impressive new stone, glass and oak offices. I guess that Sotheby’s will also not be Maison du Jour in Vosne-Romanée – particularly as the catalogue is full of quotes attributed to Aubert de Villaine and also a few pictures of him as if endorsing the sale!
I’ve never been disappointed by a DRC – actually not true, there was once a corked 1997 La Tâche! – okay I’ve never been disappointed by a DRC with a decent cork, but it seems to me that the wines bear little relevance these days even to mainstream Burgundy drinkers – only the domaine’s viticulture does.
If somebody lays on a Barbie-pink Bentley, some nice gold chains and diamond tooth studs I think I could be persuaded to attend though