Halliday sells his DRCs

James Halliday and Tamara Grischy of Langton's in his wine cellar

Ever wanted to get your hands on a single bottle of France's most famous wine?

James Halliday, Australia’s best-known wine writer and a huge burgundy fan, is selling a substantial portion – 250 bottles – of his impressive collection of wines from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti via an online auction run by Australia’s leading wine auctioneers Langton’s. Our picture shows James in his cellar in the Yarra Valley making a point to Langton’s Tamara Grischy. You can see a video of Tamara interviewing James via this link to the online auction.

Halliday has been buying a considerable quantity of DRC burgundies for years and has been storing it deep under his home overlooking the valley. He has been famously hospitable as a host; I remember being served a 1943 when James invited me for dinner there. (He is also extremely interested in food – the account of eating and drinking at a succession of top restaurants in France with his wife Suzanne in his autobiography, A Life in Wine (Hardie Grant, 2019), is physically exhausting to read.)

He is quoted as saying, ‘As I approach my 82nd birthday I have decided to sell a selection of wines from my collection. I hope it will give opportunities for the many wine lovers around the world to start or add to a collection of these wines.’ The 250 single-bottle lots in this sale have estimated prices per bottle starting at AU$2,000 (£1,068/$1,134/€1,180) and averaging AU$4,000. The bottle of La Tâche 1999 is expected to fetch around AU$10,000.

Most of the vintages are relatively young – this century – although there's a handful of bottles from the 1970s. See this complete list:

Langton’s are valuing the collection at more than a million Australian dollars. The auction will go live tomorrow and will close on 28 June at 7 pm (AEST, which is 9 hours ahead of BST and 14 hours ahead of EDT). Bidders from outside Australia may like to have an idea of how much it would cost to get their hands on the wine:

The last single-owner sale of DRC burgundies I remember was football manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s collection, including some Petrus – also bought from Corney & Barrow, presumably. It was sold by Christie’s in 2014 in Hong Kong and made £2.3 million.

Later in the year Langton’s will be selling some of Halliday’s enviable collection of the fine Australian wines he has been buying for 60 years. He has taken good care of his wine cellar, famously pouring many a premoxed white burgundy down the drain.