Bonhams will be offering a spectacular array of wine at their December 3 New Bond Street Fine and Rare Wines sale, surely an opportunity for a horizontal tasting. Among the lots going under the hammer, a remarkable five different shippers of 1945 vintage port will be represented at the sale.
"When one has an opportunity to taste direct comparisons it is known as a horizontal tasting, rather than vertical which is a tasting of different years from one estate or supplier," said Richard Harvey, head of wine at Bonhams.
As always, the sale contains a wide spectrum of different wine styles at a broad range of prices. Bidding will kick off with an impressive array of Champagnes, including three bottles of Krug, Clos du Mesnil 1979 (estimated at £4,000-5,000) and two methuselahs of the Millennium edition of Louis Roederer Cristal 1990 (estimated at £5,000-6,000 each).
Claret remains the cornerstone of the auction with the selection of older wines featuring several examples of the outstanding 1945, 1955, 1959 and 1961 vintages.
A number of private collections with excellent storage include nine bottles of 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild (estimated at a significant £9,000-12,000) and five vintages of Petrus - a six bottle case of the 1989 vintage estimated at an equally impressive £8,000-10,000.
Twelve bottles of 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild recently doubled their estimate at auction.
Meanwhile, younger wines include case lots of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1995 (estimated £3,200-3,800), Latour 1996 (estimated £4,000-4,400), Margaux 1996 and 2003 (estimated £3,200-3,800).
Elsewhere, vertical vintages from properties such as Ducru Beaucaillou, Leoville Lascases and Haut Brion are a feature of another fine private cellar from Scotland - a collection which also includes some mouth-watering mixed lots of red and white Burgundies.
Among the red Burgundies are seven vintages of La Tache, including a bottle of the 1947 vintage (estimated £2,400-3,000) and two bottles of the rare 1985 Richebourg from Henri Jayer (estimated at £6,500-7,500 each).
Wine connoisseurs will also be interested to learn that the outstanding Hermitage La Chapelle 1978 (estimated at £360-420 per bottle) is included amongst the Rhone wines and there are a number of other vintages from this famous vineyard.
Other mixed lots are to be found at all price levels and could make for some highly entertaining Christmas drinking. For those looking for comfort in the depths of winter there is a large collection of top Australian wines, mainly from Henschke, Kay Brothers, Two Hands and Torbreck.
The sale culminates in a good selection of 19th Century and old landed Cognac from Frapin, Harvey's and Hine.