Burgundy, at its roots, is the motherland of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In modern times, it has become one of the singularly important zones of the wine world, and one that seems to be the driving force of the wine auction world. Over many generations, the parcels of land have been divided among siblings into smaller and smaller plots, and with each passing generation comes another nuance in the evolution of winemaking that has largely remained the same over of that time.

The landscape of Burgundy remains the same as well, but how it has changed in the last 10 years is in Burgundy’s increased value. Seemingly, it would make perfect sense, as small pieces of land become even smaller over time, what often is left is a microscopic production of a single wine that is sought by collectors worldwide. The demand far outweighs the supply, and wines like Romanée-Conti approach five figures per bottle within minutes of hitting the market.

Romanée-Conti rare wineRomanee Conti 2005
Domaine de la Romanee Conti, scl
Magnum (1) | Estimate: $35,000-$45,000

 Romanee Conti 2005
Domaine de la Romanee Conti, 3 banded owc
Bottle (9) | Estimate: $107,500-$117,500

 

 

Unlike Bordeaux, where the hierarchy has largely remained the same for a very long time, Burgundy always seems to be able to welcome new producers into its elite. With each passing generation of winemakers, the inspiration to craft better wines seems to grow stronger, and as with almost any domaine, the family name is on every bottle of wine produced. Some, like Pierre Yves Colin-Morey have become among the most collectable in White Burgundy, and it should come as no surprise as his family, and quite interestingly, his wife’s family, has deep roots in winemaking as well. Other winemakers, like Mounir Saouma of Lucien Le Moine, stop at nothing to become one of the elite of Burgundy, and are producing almost nothing but tiny productions from arguably the best terroirs in all of Burgundy.

Of course, there are the historical mainstays of Burgundy, much like any other region in France. Romanée-Conti is still the strongest name among Burgundy collectors. Its history of winemaking is largely unmatched in Burgundy, and it has long produced some of the most iconic (and expensive!) wines ever from this hallowed region. Others, like Bize Lalou-Leroy of Domaine Leroy, who was the woman responsible for the rise of Romanée-Conti for most of the 20th century, ventured out on their own to create another iconic Domaine. Lalou-Leroy’s work at Romanée-Conti continued its march to dominance, but her family’s label now is giving the famed estate a run for its money. In just under 30 vintages, Domaine Leroy has made a lot of noise in Burgundy, and production of the top wines sadly comes at a fraction of that produced by Romanée-Conti. Other historical estates, like Domaine Dujac, have long been making great wine, but through some outstanding acquisitions in the early 2000s (which include Chambertin and Vosne Romanee Les Malconsorts!), they now are making wine from even more great terroir. No matter how you rise to the top of the hierarchy in Burgundy, it always seems as though there is room for quality.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same” is an expression that could not ring any truer in wine than in Burgundy. Even as the wine world in other areas continues to be more innovative with every passing year, Burgundy almost has gone back to the history books, returning to the methods that helped the area rise to its prominence in the first place. More interesting is that in other wine-growing regions where Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thrive, many producers have become set on replicating the wines of Burgundy down to the smallest detail (although it could be argued that they are missing the one thing that makes Burgundy truly unique: the soil). If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Burgundy gets to take the biggest bow of them all.

More than 500 lots of the finest and rarest Burgundy are posed to hammer for $2 million or more when Heritage Auctions launches its fall season with its Fine & Rare Wine Auction Sept. 8 in Beverly Hills and simulcast to Hong Kong at the exclusive Crown Wine Cellars. The Romulus Collection: Compelling Burgundy from a California Gentleman boasts impeccable provenance in addition to the incredible roll call of producers, with every lot purchased on release from local retailers and stored in pristine professional storage.

 


Bize Lalou-Leroy of Domaine Leroy rare wine

Richebourg 2006
Leroy
4ssos due to overfill, owc
Bottle (12) | Estimate: $20,000-$28,000

 


rare wine Bize Lalou-Leroy of Domaine LeroyChambertin 2009
Leroy
3ssos due to overfill, owc
Bottle (12) | Estimate: $40,000-$50,000

 

Montrachet 2007
Domaine de la Romanee Conti
banded owc
Bottle (3) | Estimate: $12,000-$15,000

 

Romanée-Conti rare wineGrands Echezeaux 2005
Domaine de la Romanee Conit
Magnum (1) | Estimate: $3,000-$4,000

La Tache 2005
Domaine de la Romanee Conti
Magnum (1) | Estiamte: $7,000-$9,000

Richebourg 2005
Domaine de la Romanee Conti
Magnum (1) | Estimate: $4,000-$6,000

 

Written by: Ian Dorin


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