Before talking about the auction, let’s just refresh your memory on this famous Burgundy Grand Cru…
La Romanée is the smallest Grand Cru vineyard in Burgundy, covering 85 ares (2.1 acres) and produces an average of 3500 bottles. It is situated just behind the prestigious Romanée-Conti vineyard in the village of Vosne-Romanée. It has belonged to the family Liger-Belair since the early 19th century.
Between 1815 and 1826 the ancestor of the family, Comte Louis Liger-Belair, acquired all in all 9 parcels of “Aux Echanges”, “En La Romanée” and “Sentier au Prêtre”, first through marriage, then by purchase, and registered it in 1827 eventually under the name LA ROMANÉE.
In 1924 Henri, the great-grandfather of Louis-Michel died, and in 1931 his widow passed away too. They had 10 children, but none were major and so the succession couldn’t take place.
Several people were interested in buying La Romanée, but Just Liger-Belair, a priest, and his brother Michel (grandfather of Louis-Michel) fortunately were able to buy the vineyard back for the family – together with an important part of Vosne-Romanée Aux Reignots.
Because the brothers were not winemakers the vineyards were rented out „en metayage“: first to the Michaudet family, from 1946 onwards to the Forey family. Responsible for the vineyard work and vinification was Jean Forey from 1961 to 1987, afterwards Regis Forey (1988-2001).
The vineyard then passed to Louis-Charles Liger-Belair – and has remained the property of the family ever since. In 2002 Louis-Michel Liger-Belair took over the winemaking process from Régis Forey and has been in complete control ever since.
So how did the Bouchard estate acquire and produce all these bottles? Well, the wines have rarely been bottled by the owners or metayeurs, but sold to different negociants: Maison C.Marey & Comte Liger-Belair, Maison Thomas-Bassot, Maison Leroy, Maison Bichot and of course, Bouchard Pere & Fils.
Fast-forward to the auction today (Sunday 18th April). The event, named “Memories”, is the Bouchard estate’s way of celebrating this special period. Bouchard Père et Fils have teamed-up with the fine wine company company Baghera/Wines (founded by Michael Ganne and Julie Carpentier), to create this exceptional event that’s taking place today at the Beau Rivage hotel in Geneva, Switzerland.
In total, 1,926 bottles of La Romanée are for sale, and according to Thomas Seiter, the MD of Bouchard Père et Fils, each bottle is in excellent condition and has been re-corked where necessary (using a special process) after being given an aroma test. The 1,926 bottles cover 33 vintages and include magnums and jeroboams. These are the very last bottles belonging to the Bouchard estate and constitute a very rare collection.
Prices expect to range from 500€ for the lesser vintages, to anything from 18,000€ and 36,000€ for the 1865 vintage!
The results from this auction will follow shortly…