2011 autumn wine season will open with two sales of Finest & Rarest Wines in close succession. The first auction will take place on Wednesday, 14 September 2011 and the second on Wednesday, 5 October 2011. Together, these sales are expected to bring in excess of £1.5 million.
Taking centre stage on 14 September is a mouth-watering array of Classed Growth Bordeaux from recent vintages, superb parcels of 2008 Bordeaux, two cases of magnificent Romanée Conti 1988 in excellent condition and Château Lafite 1982. Competing for attention are a parcel of Dom Pérignon 1990, tempting Red Rhônes and classic Vintage Port. With estimates ranging in the low hundreds to a high of £70,000, all tastes and budgets are catered for.
The sale gets off to a cracking start with a collection of Classed Growth Claret of vintages dating from 1998 to 2006, featuring all the First Growths and Top Right Bank wines. The curtain raiser is 12 bottles of Château Latour 1998, estimated at £3,400-4,200 per lot (lot 1), a vintage, as noted by Serena Sutcliffe, with a big structure, as always, aromatically complex and classic. 12 bottles of Château Beychevelle 1998, estimated at £700-800 per lot (lot 9), with its lovely flavour and texture (SS) and 12 bottles of Château Haut Bailly 1998, which was a terrific year for Pessac-Léognan, estimated at £300-400 per lot (lot 12) are among the many affordable wines. The stand-out item in the collection is indeed the cover lot, 12 bottles of Château Ausone 2003, estimated at £10,000-13,000 (lot 69). Only 18,000 bottles were made of this very complex, very exotic (SS) wine.
From one stellar group of wines to the next, a wonderful collection of Bordeaux, including First Growths and Saint Emilion from 1982. The 82s were all purchased en primeur, and the line-up of Châteaux is exquisite: Château Lafite, 12 bottles estimated at £26,000-34,000 per lot (lot 136); Château Latour, 12 bottles estimated at £13,000-16,000 per lot (lot 138); Château Margaux, 12 bottles estimated at £6,000-7,500 per lot (lot 140), Château Haut Brion, 12 bottles estimated at £4,400-5,500 per lot (lot 142); Château Mouton Rothschild, 12 bottles estimated at £9,000-12,000 per lot (lot 144); Château Ausone, 12 bottles estimated at £2,200-2,600 per lot (lot 146) and Château Cheval Blanc, 12 bottles at £5,500-7,500 per lot (lot 148). Each of these châteaux also comes to sale in lots of smaller quantities.
Pristine 2008 Bordeaux comprises a group of lots with an estimate range for 12 bottles per lot from £1,000-1,300 (lots 177-180, Château Palmer), to £10,000-14,000 (lots 162-164, Château Lafite).
The highest priced wine in the sale is the magnificent Romanée Conti 1988 two cases are to be offered, 12 bottles per lot, with an estimate of £58,000-70,000 (lots 206 and 207). In the year of the harvest, ideal conditions gave concentrated, firm, tannic wines with great aromatic flavour and depth. DRC excelled across the range in this vintage and the wines have the real scent of the soil (SS). Most certainly a keeper, the 1988s will store well for the future. Recently removed from the cellar of a fine country house, two cases of Château Lafite 1982, estimated at £30,000-40,000 per lot (lots 208-209) will be offered alongside a run of Champagne, Dom Pérignon 1990. With an estimate of £750-900 per lot of six bottles (lots 210-218), these celebratory bottles provide the perfect accompaniment to 21st birthday toasts.
A selection of red and white Rhône is highlighted by 12 bottles of Hermitage, La Chapelle 1989, estimated at £1,200-1,600 per lot (lot 274). With its gloriously oriental bouquet and wild spices on both the nose and on the palate, the vintage is considered by Serena Sutcliffe to be utterly rich and luscious. The exotic is balanced by a lift of acidity which brings all the complex elements together to create a harmonious whole. Three bottles of Hermitage Blanc 1990 are estimated at £360-440 per lot (lot 329).
Last but not least, a selection of classic Vintage Port will entice the taste buds of connoisseurs. 12 bottles of Fonseca 2000, noted for its classical structure and aromatic nose, are estimated at £300-360 per lot (lots 133-134) and 12 bottles of Smith Woodhouse 1977 a giant of the vintage and only a small amount was produced are estimated at £300-360 per lot (lot 406).
The sale of Finest and Rarest Wines on 5 October begins with a wonderful collection of Claret, Sauternes and Rhône, acquired by a keen wine lover over the past two decades. For fans of the super-second Château Ducru Beaucaillou, vintages range from 1970 to 2002, including 1996, 12 bottles, estimated at £1,100-1,500 per lot (lot 5). First Growths focus on Château Mouton Rothschild (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002) while there are parcel quantities of Second Wines such as Carruades de Lafite, Les Forts de Latour, Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux and Château Bahans Haut Brion in the very drinkable 2002 vintage. There are also some interesting mixed lots, perfect for birth years or anniversaries.
Stunning Bordeaux 2008s are featured in parcel quantities which offer a great opportunity for collectors. These include nine cases of Château Mouton Rothschild 2008, estimate £5,500-6,500 per 12 bottles (lots 139-147) and six cases of Ausone 2008, estimate £6,000-8,000 per 12 bottles (lots 154-159).
A further collection from a country house features the complete range of 1989 First Growths in original wood, which would offer a sensational horizontal tasting for the indulgent. It includes Château Lafite 1989, 12 bottles per lot, estimate £7,200-8,800 (lot 167). Other highlights from this collection include a 12-bottle case of Le Pin 1995, estimate £10,000- 12,000 (lot 174).
In addition, Vintage Port is well represented with parcel quantities of Graham 1977 (lots 198-202) and Graham 1985 (lots 205-209). Further Port for autumn evenings is on offer, with parcels of Warre 1991 (lots 337-344) and Smith Woodhouse 2000 (355-358) among a range of vintages from 1977 to 2003.
A superb collection of Lafite and Carruades de Lafite from a private cellar spans the years from 1989 to 2004, including Château Lafite 2003, 12 bottles, estimate £10,000-12,000 (lot 222). From another country house cellar, there is a wonderful selection of mature First Growths such as Château Haut Brion 1982 in exciting party size format, estimated at £5,500-6,500 per 3 double magnums (lot 235).
Extremely rare on the market, from the London cellars of a distinguished family, are superb First Growths from the mythical 1945 and 1947 vintages, including Châteaux Lafite 1945, Margaux 1945, Latour 1947, Margaux 1947 and Cheval Blanc 1947 (lots 253-259). A highlight is two bottles of Château Mouton Rothschild 1945, estimated at £4,000-6,000 (lot 256).
For Sauternes lovers, there is much to delight: Château dYquem 1983 in 12-bottle cases and one Imperial (lots 291-293) and the same wine in the classic 1988 vintage (lots 294-295). And finally, keenly priced Claret from the accessible 1985, 1989, 1995 and 1999 vintages just begging for a new home! Among the tempting choices are Château de Marbuzet 1995, 12 bottles, estimate £240-300 (lots 381-385) and two 36-bottle lots of Château Patris 1999 with an estimate of £240-300 per lot (lots 392-393).