Due to an influx of new collectors from the East, the most expensive bottles of wine ever sold have taken over the wine market, causing prices to blast skyward faster than a cork popped out of (an improperly opened) bottle of 1999 vintage Dom Pérignon. If the so-called “Red Obsession” (oh, the wonderful double entendre) has pushed the pricing of a great bottle of Bordeaux out of your price range, take heart: the wines on this list are so ludicrously expensive that they fall out of reach of even most of the newly wealthy, conspicuously consuming folks out there.
Here are the 12 most expensive bottles of wine ever:
12. 1811 Chateau d’Yquem
This wine holds the record for being one of the most expensive bottles of white wine. The bottle of wine sold by fine win merchant firm Hedonist at the equivalent of $117,000 at the time.
The expensive white wine is regarded as one of the finest white wines in the history of Bordeaux and one of the supreme vintages ever made.
11. “Romanee Conti 1945”
The moment a private collector bought this bottle of wine for an eye-popping $123,899.
With only 600 of its kind produced, the Romanee Conti became one of the most expensive bottles of wine ever bought and shattered the record for the highest price ever reached for a 750ml bottle of Burgundy at auction.
10. “Chateau Lafite-Rothschild”
The most expensive (standard-sized) bottle of wine ever sold for almost the same amount as the median value of a home in the U.S.
At a Sotheby’s auction in 2010, three bottles of 1869 vintage Chateau Lafite-Rothschild sold for more than $232,690. Each. That’s a total purchase of over $698,000 on some old red wine. Granted, it was probably great old red wine, but it’s still just a few thousand milliliters of booze that could be gone before dessert was served.
Even though the age alone would command a very high price, the real reason behind the astronomical cost of this bottle is because of the initials of Thomas Jefferson etched on the glass of the bottle.
This bottle of wine was sold at an auction in London for $156,000.
9. Penfolds Ampoule
One of Australia’s most renowned wineries, Penfolds offers a unique wine experience with its Ampoule. Unlike traditional bottles, the Ampoule is sealed without a cork or screw cap. Instead, the wine is kept in a specially designed ampoule that requires expert assistance to open. The exclusivity and craftsmanship of this wine contribute to its price tag of $168,000.
8. 1990 Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru
The 1990 Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru is hailed as one of the finest wines in the world. With its nuanced complexity and exceptional rarity, this wine has become a favorite among collectors and enthusiasts. Its price tag of $224,000 reflects its unmatched quality and the demand for this extraordinary vintage.
7. “Chateau Margaux 1787”
This bottle of wine is not only one of the most expensive bottles of wine but also holds the record for the most expensive bottle of wine that was never sold.
The Chateau Margaux is one of the wines from the Theodore Roosevelt wine collection but suffered an unfortunate fate in 1989. In 1989, while wine collector William Sokolin took a bottle of wine to the Four Seasons Hotel, a waiter mistakenly hit the bottle, smashing it.
But that was not the end of the bottle, as the insurers paid $225,000 for the smashed bottle.
6. Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1869
The Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1869 is a wine that commands attention. With its rich heritage and exceptional quality, this Bordeaux vintage has become a favorite among collectors and investors. In a surprising turn of events, an auction in Hong Kong saw an unidentified bidder from Asia acquire a bottle of this extraordinary wine for a staggering $230,000, far surpassing the initial estimates.
5. “Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck”
It is one of the most expensive bottles of wine and also one of the oldest bottles of wine. The wine, which was 80 years old at the time of recovery in 1998, was one of the Tsar of Russia’s particular favorites.
The story of the wine started when the Tsar of Russia commissioned a freight to deliver wine during the First World War, and the ship that was to provide the wine suffered an unfortunate fate after the freighter carrying the wine was hit by a German submarine. After its recovery in 1998, the wine went up for auction in Moscow and was sold for $275,000. It held the record for the world’s most expensive bottle of Champagne.
4. “1947 Chateau Cheval Blanc”
Why is the most expensive bottle of wine sold only in the number two spot on our list? This 1947 Chateau Cheval Blanc was a six-liter bottle, making it eight times larger than a standard 750 ml bottle.
Thus, while the more than $300,000 price tag for this massive bottle of wine is enormous, it works out to a mere $37,800 per bottle of regular size.
3. Jeroboam of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1945
Chateau Mouton-Rothschild is renowned for producing exceptional wines, and their 1945 vintage holds a special place in history. Symbolizing the triumph of the Allied Forces in World War II, this wine carries a rich and powerful story. With its minty notes, dry pine needles, and raspberry flavors, it’s no wonder that a Jeroboam of this vintage sold for a remarkable $310,000 at a 1997 auction.
2. “Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992”
From the vineyards of Oakville, California, comes the iconic Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 1992. This exceptional wine, known for its excellent quality and unique flavor profile, sold for an impressive $500,000 at a Napa Valley auction in 2000. With its scarcity and undeniable reputation, it’s no wonder this bottle commands such a high price.
1. Domaine De La Romanee-Conti
The Domaine De La Romanee-Conti is no stranger to the world of luxury wines. Known for producing some of the most sought-after bottles, their Romanee-Conti Grand Cru 1945 is the most expensive wine ever sold. This exquisite wine fetched a staggering $558,000 at a Sotheby’s auction 2018. With only 600 bottles ever produced, this rare vintage holds a special place in collectors’ and connoisseurs’ hearts.
In conclusion, the world of luxury wines offers a glimpse into a realm of indulgence and sophistication. These top 10 most expensive wines showcase the artistry, craftsmanship, and history that make wine more than just a beverage. Whether you are a collector, enthusiast, or simply appreciate the finer things in life, these bottles represent the pinnacle of the wine world. So, if you ever find yourself in possession of one of these extraordinary wines, savor the moment and enjoy the experience of indulging in a true masterpiece.
What’s the most you’ve paid for a bottle of wine?