An Unprecedented Opportunity For Wine Collectors – Restaurant Mosaic’s Wine Cellar Goes on Sale

Photographer Marsel Roothman

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85 000 bottles of wine, 5 500 labels: Restaurant Mosaic’s wine collection is hard to comprehend.

Imagine discovering the door to a cave of hidden riches. Wines acquired that have come directly from the most admired estates in France: vintages of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti stretching over three decades, or aged Bordeaux from the likes of Petrus, Château Latour, Château Lafite Rothschild and Château d’Yquem. Port from the greatest houses, dating to the 1960s. Brandies such as Armagnac and Calvados. Champagne blue-chips such as Salon, Krug or Cristal alongside the very best smaller growers.

In addition to the French selection, the cellar also holds celebrated South African wines in equal measure, ranging from Klein Constantia’s iconic Vin de Constance (in excess of 25 vintages) to the delights of the country’s most sought-after wine farm, Sadie Family Vineyards. Syrahs from Boekenhoutskloof and Mullineux; Chris Alheit’s ultra-rare Radio Lazarus; the famous Lanzerac 1968 Pinotage; Tim Atkin’s 100-pointer 2015 Kanonkop Paul Sauer, as well as vintages of the same wine back to the early 1990s. And the list goes on …

Chef Chantal Dartnall, Cellar Master Cobus du Plessis and Sommelier Moses Magwaza are pleased to announce that the contents of this extraordinary cellar will be available for purchase from 29 March 2021.

This astonishing collection has evolved over many years thanks to the expertise of Du Plessis. While Chef Chantel has been raking in award after award for her culinary genius, her international renown has been matched by the recognition bestowed on Mosaic’s cellar – dozens of prizes, including 2019’s La Liste Award for the Best Wine List in the World and a prestigious Grand Award from Wine Spectator in 2021 (the fourth year in a row).

In November Restaurant Mosaic announced that it will be closing its doors at the end of March. This was sad news for patrons who have come to cherish the unique, botany-inspired cuisine. Now this bitterness is paired with some sweetness, as it brings with it an opportunity: the sale of Mosaic’s incomparable wine collection. Mari Dartnall, General Manager of The Orient, describes how since last year’s announcement “we have been overwhelmed with requests … so many people want to dine at Mosaic one last time”. Purchasing wine from the cellar is a chance for patrons to retain a part of the Mosaic experience.

Photographer Marsel Roothman

The scope of the Mosaic collection, however, is able to accommodate a much wider market of vinophiles seeking to acquire some of its gems. Seasoned connoisseurs and aspiring wine collectors alike will identify this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to start or expand their own wine cellars. Restaurateurs are able to build a wine list that will give them a post-Covid boost. Wines of this quality require time to mature – and, usually, “you can’t buy age”. But in this case the waiting has been done already!

Of equal importance is the wines’ provenance. Every one of the labels in the collection was selected with care as the Mosaic team travelled to farms across Europe and South Africa. Du Plessis’s team ensured that each bottle was appropriately transported: the cold chain managed and intact until the consignment was delivered to the safety of the Mosaic cellar, with its constant humidity of 70% and temperature of 14ºC.

Du Plessis, who (in addition to the many prizes he has received as cellar master) was invested in 2018 as a commandeur representing the Grand Conseil du Vin de Bordeaux, emphasises this commitment. “A huge part of the cellar’s reputation comes from the fact that we visited every farm and tasted the wines under the guidance of the winemakers,” he notes. “Sometimes we enjoyed rare wines only available to select guests; and we became close friends in the bonhomie of a shared passion for wine.”

Specialist fine wine importer Great Domaines has been appointed to ensure the protection of this legacy. Mosaic stalwart Moses Magwaza, voted the country’s best sommelier in 2017, will stay on to help manage the progressive sale of the collection. This will take place over a period of three to five years: a slow release of wines, to ensure attentiveness to the dynamics of both the local and international wine markets. Mosaic’s commitment to South African wine makers in particular – the love of South African produce – has gone hand in hand with Chef Chantel’s culinary art over the years, and the Mosaic cellar holds many bottles that are not even found in their estates’ own archive collections – will be sustained throughout the process.

Derek Kilpin, General Manager of Great Domaines, attests to the quality and magnitude of the Mosaic collection: “Cobus’s knowledge and enthusiasm is documented in what I call his ‘wine Bibles’ – rich sources of information about each label. He even wrote a computer programme for this vast repository! A cellar of this immense depth and breadth is quite simply unheard of in South Africa, or indeed in almost any other country. It is a treasure trove of many of the world’s greatest wines.”

Selections from Restaurant Mosaic’s wine collection will be sold after 29 March 2021. Great Domaines will ensure that different parts of the cellar are made available at intervals. Themed and curated offers will be advertised via numerous platforms including a direct mailing list, the Mosaic website and designated auction houses. To sign up for further information and announcements via regular mailers, write to mosaic@greatdomaines.co.za and ask to be added to the mailing list.

 

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