The Kotovsky collection boasts some of the finest Bordeaux ever crafted, back vintages of Petrus, and one of the largest collections of Madeira to ever appear at Christie’s
A first-generation American born of a Lithuanian mother and a Ukrainian father, Mr. Irwin Kotovsky was proud of his immigrant heritage and developed an interest in wine when travelling in Europe whilst representing his Pittsburgh-based lighting business. He would take monthly trips to Paris, frequenting restaurants like Maxim’s, and following his marriage in 1981, his interest in wine flourished into a passion for collecting. For him, wine was about engagement, entertainment, and enjoyment.
Over his lifetime he assembled a spectacular cellar, replete with the world’s most sought-after bottles. His broad collection will be offered at Christie’s in two sales this season. Beginning in the Americas and online with The Two Continents Collection, The Private Cellar of Irwin Kotovsky Part I (6-18 April) will be followed by the London online sale of The Two Continents Collection — The Private Cellar of Irwin Kotovsky Part II (8-22 June).
Kotovsky adored Bordeaux, and during his numerous trips to the wine region he built up a strong selection of first growths from vintages spanning the 60s, 70s and 80s, as well as back vintages of Petrus from 1962, 1966 and 1970. Château La Lagune was a favourite of his, and he also collected the province’s sweet wines, focusing on Château d’Yquem — a wine that features extensively in Christie’s April online sale.
Kotovsky loved to share wines and spirits with friends and clients, and was known for his generosity. He would give loved ones a vintage to celebrate the year of their birthdate or anniversary, and if it wasn’t a good year he would opt for a port or spirit. He also enjoyed champagne and would start every dinner with a fine bottle of fizz, whether sitting at his regular spots Il Cielo in Beverly Hills or La Grenouille in New York.
The collection is awash with rare Champagne bottles from top producers. Krug, Salon and Dom Pérignon are well represented in the sale with vintages back to ’47. Mature Champagne offers the drinker a richness that only comes with bottle age.
Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the collection is the vast array of mature white Burgundy. Domaine Leflaive, widely considered the greatest producer of Chardonnay in the world, is offered in multiple vintages from the greatest sites. Full cases of mature vintages of Chevalier-Montrachet from the 1991, 1998 and 2004 are also notable highlights.
Concluding the auction in the Americas is one of the largest private collections of Madeira ever to appear at Christie’s. There are multiple bottles of Terrantez 1795, full cases of 1840 Malvasia Reserva Velha from Barbeito, and some ultra-rare 18th-century bottlings from William H. Fearing.
The Two Continents Collection — The Private Cellar of Irwin Kotovsky Online: Part II will be held in June in London. The London auction offers an impressive range of mature Bordeaux, exceptional white Burgundy and Sauternes. What sets it apart is the kaleidoscopic offering of rare spirits and liqueurs, the finest selection that Christie’s has presented since the sale of Cognac from the cellars of La Tour d’Argent over a decade ago.
The Private Cellar of Irwin Kotovsky is a special opportunity to acquire exceptionally rare bottles from the collection of a passionate enthusiast. All his bottles were acquired with detailed research and attention to provenance and stored with care in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment.
With the sale including Cognac from 1811, ancient vintages of Laberdolive Armagnac, 19th-century Calvados and one of the largest private collections of Chartreuse to ever appear at Christie’s, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for collectors of wine and spirits.
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