Dr. Valore Collection

Colton's Hill

Ko-Imari generally refers to Arita porcelain made during the Edo period, and is called "Old Imari" in English. The art representing Japan, named after the shipping port of Imari as well as Port and Bordeaux, has long been loved around the world, so much so that I find time in my business trips to stop by antique stores and fantasize about how the highly colored tableware made in Japan more than 300 years ago can be found on street corners in Boston and Naples. I fantasize about how these highly colored tableware made in Japan more than 300 years ago came to be lined up on street corners in Boston and Naples. The other day, in an antique shop in Amsterdam, I saw a recently made imitation of Ko-Imari labeled as "Old Imari" and sold at the same price as Ko-Imari. He replied, "Old Imari does not refer to ceramics made more than 300 years ago, but to this style of ceramics.

Vallorée S.A.

Until the late 20th century, most wine producers in Burgundy did not bottle their own wine, but sold the wine in barrels to négociants (liquor merchants) for income after fermentation was complete. Negociants aged and bottled the wine they purchased from producers and sold it with their own labels. Arthur Barollet et Fils, founded in 1830, was a small négociant that sold high quality wines directly to wealthy customers, mainly in Belgium.
Albert Barollet (Dr. Barollet), born in 1898, was a physician as well as a négociant who had taken over from his father, but he was not interested in expanding the business. It is said that he was one of the first to visit the best producers after the harvest, tasting all the wines in barrels, and selecting and purchasing the barrels with the most concentrated and intense wines. When he died in 1969, a lifelong bachelor, his cellar contained 160,000 bottles of Burgundy from 1911 to 1966 and 200 barrels of wine still aging in oak barrels.

Dr. Valore Collection

After Albert Barollet's death, the inventory and trademarks of Arthur Barollet et Fils were sold by his heirs, his two sisters, to Henri de Villamont, a large negociant, and some of his remaining wines were auctioned by Christie's in England in December 1969. According to Michael Broadbent, the wine appraiser in charge of the auction, the quality of the wines in the cellar was not uniform, with some being of high quality and others already past their prime. He tasted and selected the best lots from his inventory and auctioned off about 18,000 bottles from the 1911 to 1959 vintages. Since Albert Barollet was a physician, Broadbent titled the auction "The Dr. Barollet Collection. The "Dr. Barollet Collection" in the narrow sense of the term refers to the 18,000 bottles that Broadbent selected for auction. Henri de Villamont, who later acquired Arthur Barollet et Fils, sold most of the remaining bottles that were not auctioned at Christie's under the company name or one of its brands, François Martenot, and the Arthur Barollet name. This is the "Dr. Barollet Collection" in the broadest sense.

If you search for "Barollet Collection" on the Internet today, you will be surprised to find that wines from vintages after Dr. Barollet's death are commonly sold under the name "Barollet Collection". This is mainly because the company that acquired Arthur Barollet & Fisse sells its wines under the brand name "Collection Arthur Barollet & Fisse. When I picked up a bottle of "Ko-Imari" on a street corner in Amsterdam, I was reminded of this "Barollet Collection".

1 The English reading of "Arthur" is "Arthur.
2 A barrel has a capacity of 228 liters.
3 The label reads "Collection du Docteur Barolet" in French.

Clos de la Roche 1921 Collection du Docteur Barolet / Henri de Villamont
(Photo courtesy of Le luxe, Daikanyama Wine Salon)