Prince Robert of Luxembourg Wine Auctions Directly from Haut-Brion Cellars

Château Haut-Brion’s most impressive wine auction to date has its origins in two parents trying to care for their son. In 2016, Prince Robert of Luxembourg and his wife, Princess Julie, were devastated to discover that their youngest son, Frederik, was seriously ill with a mysterious illness. Frederik was eventually diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a genetic condition that robs the body’s cells of energy, in turn causing multiple organ dysfunction and failure. His particular disease is due to a mutation in the PolG gene, but several mitochondrial diseases have now been discovered which are thought to affect one in 5,000 people.

After five years of working to find effective treatments for their own child, Prince Robert and Princess Julie are focused on helping other families. Last year, they founded the PolG Foundation, dedicated to funding research into treatments for mitochondrial diseases. And to raise funds for the cause, they teamed up with Sotheby’s to auction off an impressive collection straight from Prince Robert’s wine cellar in Haut-Brion.

“We have had a long relationship with Prince Robert for many years and he has offered to work together on this very personal and meaningful sale,” said Jamie Ritchie, Global Chairman of Wines and Spirits at Sotheby’s. Wine spectator.

“I never intended to sell these bottles,” said Prince Robert, the fourth generation of the Dillon family to oversee their growing wine business, which now includes Haut-Brion., its neighbor La Mission Haut-Brion and Château Quintus in St.-Emilion. As he explains in the catalog, “Anything that would not have been enjoyed with family and friends, I would have left to the younger generation. When I first had the idea of ​​emptying my cellar in this rather public way, I of course started by approaching my wife and my children, to ask them if they were in agreement with this proposal. There was not a minute of hesitation.

Prince Robert of Luxembourg opened his cellars for a cause close to his heart. (Kiara Watson)

The sale, which will take place on May 21 at Sotheby’s offices in New York and online, includes more than 800 lots, a treasure trove of wines, most of which have spent their entire lives in Haut-Brion cellars. Many cases of the classic classified 1990 and 1989 vintages are available, as well as magnums. One lot includes four balthazars (12 liter bottles) of the 2009 vintage of Haut-Brion, Haut-Brion Blanc, La Mission and La Mission Blanc.

The wines collected by Prince Robert are also up for grabs, with wines from neighboring premier crus, as well as Ausone castles and Palmer and even imperial (6 liter bottles) of Pétrus of various vintages in original wooden cases. Additionally, the Dillons are members of Primum Familiae Vini, an alliance of family wineries that includes names like Antinoris in Italy, the Symingtons in Portugal and the Perrins of the Rhone Valley in France. They also donated rarities for sale.

For Ritchie and his team, there is rarely a sale with such an ideal provenance. “The direct provenance from the winery is perfect, so we didn’t face some of the usual challenges,” he said. “It really came down to the logistics of inspecting the wines of Château Haut-Brion, gathering wines from other generous donors and working with Prince Robert to make sure we were telling the story in the right way, so that it does justice to the rarity and provenance of the wines and informs everyone of the purpose of the sale, which is to raise awareness and maximize funds for the PolG Foundation.”

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Shirley M. Pinder