Jazz musician Quincy Delight Jones Jr. with his Big Band. Konzerthaus. Vienna. About 1960. Photograph by Franz Hubmann. Courtesy Franz Hubmann/Imagno/Getty Images
One of the most decorated figures in American music, Quincy Jones has broken boundaries throughout his career. As a songwriter, producer, composer and arranger he has upended traditional divisions of genre, fusing pop, soul, jazz and hip-hop in extraordinary combinations. Further, he has blazed the trail for a more diverse and inclusive music industry, becoming the first Black executive at a major American record company and breaking into film scoring at a time when the field was largely closed to Black composers.
Jones has been responsible for some of the most beloved hits of the 20th century, including producing Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the best-selling album in music history, and the charity single We Are the World, which sold more than 20 million copies and raised over $63 million for humanitarian aid in Africa. With 28 Grammy wins to his name, he is one of just a few multidisciplinary talents who can claim EGOT status — having also won an Emmy, Oscar and Tony. And he has done it all with grace, humility and no small amount of panache.
Quincy Jones. Photograph by Greg Gorman
Perhaps less well known is that throughout his wide-ranging career, which has brought him all over the world, Jones has amassed an exceptional collection of fine wine — the arsenal of a consummate host who is known for gatherings that bring together entertainment’s greatest talents and stars. Christie’s is thrilled to offer selections from Mr. Jones’ collection as part of Fine Wine from the Cellar of Quincy Jones and A Diplomat’s Collection of Rarities, an online auction from 30 November to 11 December.
It all started when Jones embarked on his first trip to Europe as a young trumpeter in Lionel Hampton’s band in 1953. The great saxophone player Ben Webster gave him a pivotal bit of advice. ‘He told me that the soul of a country is identified by its music, its food, and its language,’ Jones recalls. ‘and that “wherever you go, eat the food the real people eat, listen to the music the real people listen to, and learn 30 or 40 words in every language.”’
Château Mouton-Rothschild, 2000. 8 bottles per lot. Sold for $12,500 in Fine Wine from the Cellar of Quincy Jones and A Diplomat’s Collection of Rarities on 11 December at Christie’s online
Jones embraced Webster’s advice wholeheartedly. ‘In so doing, I was also introduced to the pleasure of experiencing the best wines ever produced,’ says Jones. It sparked a collecting journey than would span more than fifty years, during which Jones gathered selections from many of the finest vineyards in the world.
Throughout his incredible output, Jones has collaborated with and brought out the best in countless iconic talents. He composed and arranged for Count Basie, Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan. He arranged Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon, the first song played on the moon. He produced the soundtrack for The Wiz, starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross. He cast Oprah in her acting debut in The Color Purple, his first film as producer. His wine collection likewise represents the best of the best.
Leacock, Malvazia, 1933. 1 bottle per lot. Sold for $750 in Fine Wine from the Cellar of Quincy Jones and A Diplomat’s Collection of Rarities on 11 December at Christie’s online
Jones’ encyclopaedic collection reflects a breadth of knowledge, spanning the most sought-after growing regions as well as under-the-radar selections and rare gems. Pre-war vintages include the 1928 Cos D’Estournel, 1933 (Mr. Jones’ birth-year) vintages of Latour and Leacock’s Malvazia, and 1934 Mouton. A broad selection of all five of Bordeaux’ First Growths is on offer alongside the best of Bordeaux’ Right-Bank including Pétrus and Cheval Blanc.
Many of the wines offered in the upcoming sale are in their peak drinking window. ‘Mr. Jones chose very well,’ says Christopher Munro, head of the wine department for Christie’s Americas. ‘He bought great vintages that will give one immense pleasure to drink now.’
One such example is the lot of Château Mouton Rothschild 2000. Beautiful gold-engraved bottles encapsulate the artistry and attention to detail that define the wines of Baroness Philippine de Rothschild.
Krug, Clos du Mesnil, Blanc de Blancs, 1985. 8 bottles per lot. Sold for $1,750 in Fine Wine from the Cellar of Quincy Jones and A Diplomat’s Collection of Rarities on 11 December at Christie’s online
The auction includes many of Mr. Jones’ personal favorites such as Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Cheval Blanc, as well as Gaja Barbaresco — which Jones considers his ‘favorite of favorites.’ Debuting in 1967, Gaja’s Sorì San Lorenzo has become one of Piemonte’s most famous wines. The bottles from 1996 offered are an excellent example of what is widely regarded as the most powerful and structured of Gaja’s three single-vineyard wines from Barbaresco.
Mixed Dom Pérignon Rosé, 1982 and 1996. 3 bottles per lot. Sold for $1,250 in Fine Wine from the Cellar of Quincy Jones and A Diplomat’s Collection of Rarities on 11 December at Christie’s online
From Burgundy, Jones chose to stock-up on the revelatory 2005 vintage, considered by many to be the finest of the decade, from the finest of whites such as Corton-Charlemagne from Camille Giroud to transcendent reds including Clos de Lambrays and Dugat-Py’s Mazoyères-Chambertin. In addition to his holdings of the best of Burgundy, Jones collected revered champagnes, such as Krug, Clos du Mesnil, one of the most sought-after and critically-acclaimed champagnes of all time.
From California, Jones’ cellar is full of both classic and cult Napa Valley wines: from Bryant Estate’s first release (1992) to older vintages of Beaulieu Vineyard, Charles Krug and Robert Mondavi.
Having recently celebrated his 90th birthday in style with a two-day tribute concert at the Hollywood Bowl, Jones is ready to open up his cellar and share it with the world. ‘Each bottle in my collection evokes in me memories of unique and extraordinary times spent with unique and extraordinary people,’ says Jones. ‘I have no doubt that the selections presented here will bring you and those you share them with as much joy and beautiful memories as they have brought to me and those that I’ve shared them with.’
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