By Rashmi Goel
Wines that are among the most expensive in the world, with a cost that continues to increase over time. Each time you take a sip of wine, it becomes an immensely royal experience. Throughout ancient texts, wine is mentioned, and so strong is its appeal that many religions ignore it altogether. Today, the vines of southern Europe are regarded as more than just a cultural heritage. Here is a list of 17 bottles of wine that were so expensive they could only be dreamed of. As we all know, good wines get better with age. True connoisseurs of expensive beverages appreciate its characteristic rich taste.
Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992 – $500,000
A legendary vintage of Napa wine, Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992 is known for being the most expensive bottle ever sold! Only 175 cases of this extraordinary 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon were produced by the iconic Screaming Eagle Napa winery. Developed by Jean Philips along with Heidi Barrett and Gustav Dalla Valle, this wine scored 99 points from wine critic Robert Parker, which assured its position as one of the world's most sought after "cult" wines. Decanting is recommended because this wine has not been refined or filtered.
Jeroboam of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1945 – $310,000
This wine hails from the vineyards of the richest family on earth, so it's not surprising that it's so expensive. The wine is said to be one of the best vintages of the last 100 years because of the symbolism on the label commemorating the victory of the Allied forces in the Second World War. The 1945 label of this vintage wine indicates the end of the Second World War and the victory of Allied powers as it was bottled during this period. It was sold to an anonymous buyer at a Christie's London auction in 1997, when it was considered one of the world's finest red wines.
Cheval Blanc 1947 – $305,000
It hails from Saint-Émilion, which is considered by many to be France's pinnacle of winemaking. With a warming alcohol content and a port-like flavor. A truly legendary wine, the 1947 vintage of Château Cheval Blanc has been described by the renowned Michael Broadbent as 'one of the greatest wines of all time'. Despite Cheval Blanc Bordeaux wine being one of the most famous vintages in 1947, the outlook for Cheval Blanc was grim at the beginning of the century. Despite the heat, Cheval refused to use ice to cool his wine, unlike some other local growers. As a result of the vineyard's favourable location, which was slightly cooler than the surrounding vineyards, it was spared the worst of the blistering heat. Featuring a thick texture and 14.4% alcohol concentration, a complete case of this vintage wine is hard to find.
Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck – $275,000
The story behind this wine justifies its price in a very unique way. 2000 bottles of the 1907 Heidsieck, considered the world's most expensive wine, were discovered in the Gulf of Finland in 1998. The bottles were found intact despite the shipwreck. A German U-boat intercepted the highly prized wine's journey to the Russian Imperial Court and made off with it, resulting in it being sold for more than US$275,000 per bottle, largely to the Russian elite.
Chateau Lafite 1869 – $230,000
Château Lafite-Rothschild is a world-renowned winery located in the Médoc wine region of Pauillac. The 1869 vintage is widely recognized as the best vintage produced by the Rothschild family. Rothschild's Chateau winery in the Médoc wine region produced the first vintage of its wines in 1869. Lafite-Rothschild was renamed Château Lafite after Baron James de Rothschild bought it at an auction the year before for almost 5 million francs. The Rothschild dynasty was founded by Mayer Amschel Rothschild, his father. The fact that three bottles of 1869 were sold for US$230,000 each at Sotheby's in Hong Kong in 2010 confirms that 1869 is a top vintage. Several of the world's best high-quality red wines are produced by the cabernet sauvignon grape variety that ripens in gravel from the nearby Gironde river.
Chateau Margaux 1787 – $225,000
In During the 17th century, Chateau Margaux was one of the top Bordeaux chateaux, producing some of the finest wines in the world at that time. There isn't a happy ending to the 1787 Château Margaux story. This Chateau Margaux was owned by Thomas Jefferson and found itself in the hands of wine trader William Sokolin, who valued it at $225,000. When he took the bottle to a Bordeaux dinner, a waiter accidentally bumped the table, shattering it and valuing it at US$500,000. Despite insurance coverage of US$225,000, it remains the most expensive wine to never be sold.
Ampoule From Penfolds - $168,000
Wine critics consistently rate Penfolds Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon above 90 points. Rather than bottles, 12 ampoules handcrafted by South Australia's top artists are used to age the wine. There are two bottles in each vessel, each containing 750 millilitres of Penfolds wine and worth 168 years of Penfolds' wine-making history. The company made 11 of these rare objet d'art sculptures available, and if a purchaser decided to taste the wine, a winemaker will arrive ready with a scribe-snap.
Chateau Lafite 1787- $156,450
In Christie's London auctioned a dark green glass wine bottle sealed with thick black wax in December 1985. The wine was discovered among other top vineyard wines in Paris, including Lafite. This unlabelled bottle was etched with the year '1787,' 'Lafitte', and 'ThJ'. Although the vessel appeared aged, the wine was reportedly of high quality, and the engravings dated back to the eighteenth century. During his time as America's Minister to France, Thomas Jefferson developed a taste for French wine and owned the bottle once. Chateau Lafite 1787 represents the most expensive single wine bottle sold at an auction, regardless of whether these rumours are true.
Henri Jayer, Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux 1999 — $136,955
Among the most highly regarded Premier Cru climats in Vosne-Romanée, Cros Parantoux is often considered worthy of Grand Cru recognition. It is situated on the slopes above... World-famous wines. The wines of Barolo and Bordeaux are steeped in tradition. There is a beautiful ruby red color to this wine. Aromatic with notes of ripe fruit, this wine has a powerful nose. The mouthfeel of this wine is dense, with soft tannins and good acidity. The complexity of this wine is exceptional. There is no doubt that this wine is a legend.
Cheval Blanc St-Emilion 1947 – $135,125
One of the best clarets of the 20th century, as well as the best Cheval Blanc. It is rich and Port-like, high in alcohol and volatile acidity, yet it does not conform to the model of fine Bordeaux. Its rich texture and voluptuous flavors may have been untypical of Cheval Blanc, but few have been able to resist it. The wine's success, however, was freakish, as no modern winemaker would produce a wine of this type so riskily. "1947 Cheval Blanc defies modern oenology," wrote French wine writer Michel Dovaz.
Romanee Conti 1945 – $558,000
Due to the legendary vines of the Romanee Conti being destroyed by Phylloxera in 1946, the 1945 Romanee Conti is super expensive. Thus, only 600 bottles could be produced before the vineyards began selling wine again in 1952. The amount of the sale, including all taxes, was 558,000 dollars, which was a historic sale. It was estimated that Sotheby's, which organised the auction in New York in October 2018, would fetch as much as 32,000 dollars. Compared to the winning bidder's final price, that's 17 times less. It's all about prestige and rarity. In the world of wine, Domaine de la Romanée Conti is still considered to be the best. It is also among the rarest. Within minutes of the first sale, a second, identical bottle sold for $496,000 at the same auction.
Chateau D’Yquem – $117,000
It is known as the most famous of the 'Comet vintages' - years in which an astronomical event happens before harvest, in this case the Great Comet of 1811. As one of the finest expressions of Sauternes for the last 250 years, Chateau d'Yquem 1811 comes from the fabled "comet vintage". There is always a feeling of silkiness and sometimes sumptuousness when tasting Château d'Yquem. As it fills out, it coats the palate. With great elegance and poise, this fine wine has a strong, but never overpowering character.
Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1951 – $38,000
It has been widely regarded as Australia's most celebrated wine, and is officially listed as a Heritage Icon by the State of South Australia as the most original and powerful expression of Penfolds multi-vineyard, multi-district blending philosophy. With its unique Australian style that is made from fully-ripe, intensely-flavored, and structured shiraz grapes, it has become recognized as one of the great wines of the world. Founded in 1951, Grange's unbroken vintage line demonstrates the synergy between soils and climates in South Australia and shiraz.
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Conti Grand Cru 1990 – $21,200
La Often referred to as Burgundy's greatest terroir, Romanée-Conti Grand Cru is a monopole vineyard of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. It has a long and illustrious history, but its more modern era began in 1952 with the first vintage bottling from DRC after the vines were replanted in 1947-48. There is no doubt that the 1990 is one of the finest releases ever made, and it should now be approaching its peak drinking period. Among the DRC wines, the 1990 Romanee-Conti should ultimately stand out as the most complex and compelling. It usually has a lighter color than either La Tache or Richebourg, but in 1990 it shows a saturation equal to both. Aromas of sweet cloves, cinnamon, and blackberries mingle with toasty, smoky oak on the nose. An enormous, surprisingly large-scaled, tannic wine offering rich and full-bodied flavors, this wine is gloriously rich and full-bodied.
Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru 2012 – $14,450
In 2012, Domaine Leroy was named one of the best Burgundy producers after having created a wine described as "magical and sumptuous." Built in 1998, this wine is said to be a product of magic and sumptuous luxury. Old-vine preservation is combined with ultra-low yields in the cultivation process, resulting in a rich fruit product. Among the results of such practices are wines with complex and deep flavors. There are notes of tropical fruits, strawberries, and cherries in the Musigny Grand Cru, as well as hints of leather and smoke in the wine. It is well suited to braised, roasted, or grilled meat dishes with such intricate flavors.
Scharzhofberger Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese – $13,615
German winemaker Egon Muller's Scharzhofberger Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese costs $13,615 and wine lovers are willing to spend this amount. The essence, taste and classic features this wine holds in every bottle are the only reasons why people buy it. The grapes and the growing conditions make this wine ideal for consumption as it contains all the essential ingredients. Processes that are intricate and delicate are what define the conditions in which wine is consumed at its best. Its excellent taste is attributed to the favorable weather conditions at the time and the time of year.