Large life, large wine bottles up for grabs at Sotheby's

Sat Jan 9, 2010 12:43pm EST
 
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By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Prominent wine collector Lloyd Flatt was a man who lived life large and had a passion for large bottles of wine. About 1,500 bottles from his collection will be auctioned in March at Sotheby's.

The collection, which includes a Jeroboam, or double magnum, of 1959 Lafite Rothschild that could fetch up to $30,000 and a case of 1989 Haut Brion Blanc estimated to sell for up to $15,000, could total more than $600,000 at the March 20 sale.

"Flatt was lean and tall, with a neatly trimmed beard," said Benjamin Wallace in his description of the former aerospace engineer and one or America's premier wine collectors, in his book "The Billionaire's Vinegar".

"His customary outfit of a tailored suit dapperly offset the triangular black patch he had worn over his right eye since a childhood accident," he added.

Flatt died in January 2008 after amassing a collection of wine that became almost as famous in wine circles as he was. He began collecting in the 1960s, long before there were wine critics and the Wine Spectator magazine.

"Collectors had nothing to go by other than their own palates," Flatt once said.

His collection was so vast that he moved from one New Orleans home in the French Quarter to another nearby and turned the first into a giant wine cellar, complete with temperature controls and special lighting.

At one point, he reportedly had about 30,000 bottles of first-growth Bordeaux, top Burgundies and large bottles of Champagne -- more than most of the finest French restaurants.   Continued...

 
<p>Lloyd Flatt is seen in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/Sotheby's/Handout</p>