Top auction picks | An extraordinary private collection

The fabulous wines in this auction all come from a single cellar, so we had a chat between oenophiles with the former owner of the collection. Building up a cellar to contain such a diverse range of bottles is no easy feat, and you might even get a bit lost among the choices, so we’ve also picked out some favourites to get you going.

A passion revealed

Speaking to our seller, it didn’t take long to understand how enamoured he is with the world of wine. Back in 2005, he caught the wine bug off a childhood friend whose influence has endured over the years. This was a turning point in his life, a moment of discovery that brought about many others as his tastes and aspirations evolved. Whilst many of the bottles in this collection took inspiration from this friend, a great fan of Rhône Valley reds and sweet Loire cuvées, our seller of course developed their own preferences in good time, and we see this reflected in the variety on offer.

For our seller, the penny really dropped when he got the chance to taste a 1998 Rayas, a giant of depth and elegance that provoked a revelation. Following this were countless other tasting sessions, the most memorable of which include a Montrachet from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, and Antoine Arena’s Carco in white and red. “If I close my eyes I can recall these moments perfectly, convivial evenings, the friends I was with, the meals we enjoyed, the atmosphere around us…Fine wines have a way of bookmarking certain moments in your mind forever.” He goes on to explain how, in his opinion, wine shouldn’t be over-intellectualised; it should be kept as a product to be shared.

One of his favourite pastimes is to visit his select wine merchants in Paris, on the hunt for new finds. This is part of the reason for him selling on so much of his collection. “My cellar is completely full. But I’m keen to explore new styles and new terroirs that I don’t know about yet.”

This eager connoisseur has also been much guided by wine makers themselves with whom he has made his acquaintance at their estates. Meetings like this allow him to get a real feel for the place and the producer, an important factor in his wine choices. He told us about a visit to Anjou: “I discovered Richard Leroy thanks to the Guide Vert, so I phoned and asked if I could drop by and he accepted. I stayed for over four hours in the cellar, at a time when I knew nothing much about wine. He gave his time to me and explained his work; I then better understood his wine and could appreciate all its complexity”.

Bringing his cellar to life

After the recent passing of his parents, our collector started to think more about the passage of time. He doesn’t want to leave too many things behind him. He recognises that his cellar is too big, and that he’ll never be able to enjoy all the bottles he has. For him, wine is made to be uncorked and shared, so keeping thousands of bottles doesn’t make sense; he’d rather his collection have a life with other wine lovers. Plus, the sum he makes through this sale will help him with a wine-based project he’s been thinking about for quite a few years now.

All the wines featured have been kept in a professional storage cellar with optimal conditions. And if future buyers wish to carry on in this vein, they are welcome to stock their bottles with iDealwine’s new cellar service.

Are there any wines in particular that stand out to the collector himself?

For the reds, it’s the signature cuvées by Emmanuel Reynaud; for the whites, he mentioned Bernaudeau’s Les Nourrissons and Dagueneau’s Silex. Less well-known but worth a look are the champagnes of Jérôme Prévost, especially La Closerie. These are monumental wines that connoisseurs should taste at least once in their lifetime. Wines that start at more accessible prices include those from Domaine Belluard and Domaine des Ardoisières, two big names from Savoie.

Lots to note

Whilst all of France’s wine regions are represented in the auction, there’s a particularly good selection of cuvées from the Loire. We recommend the 2009 La Lune from Ferme de la Sansonnière, Clos Rougeard’s Les Poyeux and Le Bourg cuvées in the same vintage, as well as Domaine Dagueneau’s Silex in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, and 2011.

The Rhône makes a strong appearance too with the Côte-Rôties of Gangloff, alongside Jean-Louis Chave’s 2010 Hermitages and 2013 Saint-Joseph. Further south, you can discover L’Anglore through its 2014 and 2011 vintages. A real star of the bunch is Emmanuel Reynaud, whose Château Rayas and Château de Fonsalette cuvées are a huge success.

From Burgundy, we’d point you towards Georges Roumier’s 2009 Chambolle-Musigny, Guffens-Heynen’s 2010 Saint-Véran, and the 2010 Chablis 1er Cru Beauregard by Thomas Pico.

And finally, some Beaujolais bottles that stand out in the catalogue: the 2005 Côte-du-Py and the 2009 3.14 cuvée from Jean Foillard.

You can explore the whole auction and place your bids here

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