will open its 2018 London wine auctions on 24 January with an extraordinary single-owner collection which has been stored in a secret grotto hewn by hand from the base of a rock face, located in a particularly beautiful part of Northern Europe. The resulting storage conditions of the cellar were consistently and evenly cool, with good natural humidity ideal for the health of the wine. The 388-lot auction is estimated to bring a combined total in the region of £825,000.
Serena Sutcliffe, MW, Honorary Chairman, Sothebys Wine, said: In the dark days of winter, it takes a treasure trove of truly joyous wines to bring a smile to the face. This collection puts the greatest vinous gems of France under the spotlight. It is clear that the wines were chosen by someone with remarkable gastronomic and wine knowledge, who had access to the best châteaux in Bordeaux.
James Reed, Director, Sothebys Wine, commented: One of the joys of being a wine specialist is being admitted to all the different places where clients store their wine. This collection is the first I have ever found in a grotto. The vendor had given me explicit instructions, as well as a map, indicating exactly where I would find it. The entrance itself is at the foot of a sheer rock face; once inside, I was confronted by a bare rock cavern, with smaller chambers branching off at random. Underfoot was bare earth. Scattered about were pallets of wine, plastic wrapped against the damp, neatly and methodically stacked and with the case ends facing outwards to aid identification. To have the opportunity to present such a glorious collection from such great storage and with such strong provenance is undoubtedly a highlight of my 20-year career at Sothebys.
The heart of the collection covers the two decades from 1990 to 2010, and all the First Growths, including Lafite 1990, Latour 2000 and Margaux 2010 are represented, alongside a host of Super Seconds and other great Left Bank wines, most in original full cases and often in parcel quantities. The Right Bank selection is distinguished by eight vintages of Petrus, as well as Le Pin in all its glory, ranging from the 1989 to no less than four cases of the 2011. There is also a smattering of red Burgundy, Sassicaia and Gaja from Italy, and the rarelyseen-at-auction Condrieu Luminescence from Guigal. The sale ends with highly affordable Roc de Cambes.
Le Pin 1989, 9 bottles, est. £16,000-22,000 (175)
Tertre Rôteboeuf 1990, 12 bottles, est. £2,200-2,800 (138)
Haut Brion 1995, 12 bottles, est. £3,400-4,200 (42)
Petrus 1995, 12 bottles, est. £16,000-22,000 (169)
Angélus 1995, 12 bottles, est. £3,000-4,000 (105)
Lafite 1996, 12 bottles, est. £7,800-9,000 (6)
Léoville Barton 1996, 12 bottles, est. £900-1,100 (66)
Cheval Blanc 1999, 12 bottles, est. £3,200-4,000 (114)
Lafite 2000, 3 magnums, est. £6,000-7,500 (9)
Latour 2000, 6 bottles, est. £3,600-4,400 (25)
Mouton Rothschild 2000, 1 double magnum, est. £4,600-6,000 per lot (51-53)
Margaux 2000, 3 magnums, est. £3,200-4,000 (30)
Le Pin 2000, 2 magnums, est. £9,200-13,000 (176)
Léoville Las Cases 2000, 12 bottles, est. £2,000-2,600 (72)
Mouton Rothschild 2002, 6 bottles, est. £1,800-2,400 per lot (56-59)
Margaux 2002, 12 bottles, est. £3,000-3,800 per lot (32-34)
Lafite 2003, 12 bottles, est. £7,500-8,500 (16)
Ausone 2003, 12 bottles, est. £7,000-9,000 (111)
Le Tertre Rôteboeuf 2005, 6 bottles, est. £1,200-1,500 per lot (149-156)
Le Pin 2005, 6 bottles, est. £12,000-15,000 per lot (179-181)
Vieux Château Certan 2005, 12 bottles, est. £1,500-2,000 per lot (193-196)
Pontet Canet 2009, 12 bottles, est. £1,700-2,200 (285-286)
Margaux 2010, 6 bottles, est. £2,800-3,400 (265-272)
Le Pin 2010, 6 bottles, est. £14,000-18,000 (349-351)
Condrieu, Luminescence 1999, Guigal, 12 half bottles, est. £360-480 per lot (215-218)
Sorì Tildin 1997, Gaja, 10 bottles, est. £2,000-2,600 (225)
Sassicaia 1999, Tenuta San Guido, 12 bottles, est. £1,600-2,200 (220)
Sassicaia 2000, Tenuta San Guido, 12 bottles, est. £1,600-2,200 (224)