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the ultimate cellar?

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

3 responses to “the ultimate cellar?”

  1. WildBillNV

    Dear Bill:

    If you do perchance get to attend, Jessie and Faye insisted I ask a favour. They want you to say Hi and give their old friends, such as Johnny Depp a big hug. Me I’ll probably sit this one out, in the same old room, at my desk, asking why can’t we change the colors of the walls, and brightrn the place up. They might as well have painted the place black. If I had the patience of Job would God have needed to create Burgundy. Which leads to all the discussions we have. I’ll leave the question open, go back over my recent tasting notes, and then concentrate on the more mundane.
    That’s my most transparent rant for months. Keep at it. We all need spmething to enjoy, provoke discussion and thought, not to inflame a passionate response making bitter enemies. Even a Master of Wine should accept Degustibus non disputandum.

  2. WildBillNV

    Sitting in the living room with the usual two suspects, consuming a bottle of Faiveley Bourgogne Blanc ’08, more later. listening to Aria II; who should check in but Erica. She insisted she could get the catalogue, and tickets for the preview tasting, this woman has some serious connections, rawdiness must be a genetic trait? Jessie and Faye both said, ‘Ya think?’

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