Laden with Reds... The fine wine collections of singer Chris de Burgh
Asked to taste some Chateau d'Yquem as a teenager, his collection now includes a 1945 Lafite
Chris de Burgh will need little introduction for music fans. Most famous for his 1986 song The Lady in Red, he has had number one albums in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland and Norway.
Born Christopher John Davison to British diplomat Colonel Charles Davison and Maeve Emily de Burgh, an Irish secretary, in Argentina, he spent his early years in Nigeria, Malta and Zaire due to his father's movements as a diplomat and business considerations.
With early performances for guests at his grandfather General Eric de Burgh's castle-hotel, he decided that 'Chris de Burgh' would make a more distinctive stage name. His first hit, Turning Round/Flying (the name varying depending on which country it was released in) passed the UK by but stayed at #1 in Brazil for 17 weeks in 1975.
De Burgh continued to have greater success outside the UK and Europe until the mid-Eighties. His album Into the Light in 1986 reached #2 in the UK, #2 in Germany, #1 in Ireland and #25 in the US, largely on the strength of the single The Lady in Red, which hit #1 in 15 countries.
The album also included the song For Rosanna, which celebrated the birth of his daughter in 1984. She went on to be crowned Miss World in 2003. De Burgh has two other children, Hubie and Michael.
Known as a passionate supporter of Liverpool Football Club, de Burgh's less famous passion is wine-collecting.
Chris de Burgh's long love affair with wine began whilst wine waiting at the family castle hotel in South East Ireland as a teenager - a guest asked him to try the bottle of Château d'Yquem he'd ordered, and the special moment has stayed with him to this day.
However, due to an intense touring and recording schedule, it was not until the early 1980s that he was able to find the time to start seriously collecting wine himself. This has come to light as he has recently decided to sell a selection of bottles at Christie's, viewing his collection as more of an investment. He is selling around £200,000 worth of wine.
"I started thinking about selling a selection of wines from my collection about five years ago," he commented.
"Looking at the economics of the wine trade and how the business of selling wine fluctuates, I decided now was the right time. Every wine I'm selling I've actually tasted, one way or the other, so I know what I'm missing, but I think the time has come for someone else to enjoy them in my stead.
"My wife, daughter and I much prefer to drink white wine, but I've greatly enjoyed collecting all sorts of varieties, and vintages, from all over the world. I'll be having an intense review of my cellar to fill the spaces made by this sale - I can now focus on the remainder of my collection."
The highest value lot in the sale is a vertical collection of 62 magnums of Château Mouton-Rothschild, vintages 1945-2005 (estimate: £70,000-90,000). First bought by Chris de Burgh at an auction in 1996 as a vertical of 40 magnums (vintages 1945-85), he has lovingly added to the collection over the years:
"It's been a real pleasure adding to the collection, although quite tricky at times to find each year in Magnum. But now I feel that it is time for someone else to enjoy it, and perhaps even add to it further."
However, de Burgh's favourite wine from the selection on offer in March is a full 12 bottle case of Château Lafite-Rothschild, vintage 1945 (estimate: £12,000-16,000).
In pristine condition and presented in the original straw which has protected the bottles since the end of the second World War, he finds the history of the case charmingly romantic:
"Considering the dramatic events that were unfolding across Europe and particularly in France at that time, it's extraordinary that one of the finest wines of the century was made then".
Christie's sale of Fine and Rare Wines Including Rarities from The Private Cellar of Chris de Burgh will take place in London, on March 24th 2011
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Images: Christie's/Ferryman Productions