It’s time to unveil this year’s list of the priciest wines on the market.
A little revisit to 2016’s list of the world’s most expensive wines shows that things have not changed all that much in 2017 – it’s still dominated by Burgundy and sweet German Riesling, while Bordeaux and the rest of the world don’t get as much as a sniff.
The only real discernible differences this year is the addition of one more sweet wine, one new Burgundy, and a decided leap in overall prices. As CNBC recently reported, fine wine «is now the best-performing collectible of the world’s wealthy collectors, with values soaring 25 percent over the past 12 months». This jump is neatly reflected in this year’s top 10 total – an exorbitant $70,902, considerably up on last year’s $56,635 (a 24 percent hike, in fact), showing prices for these ultra-luxury goods are doing anything but waning.
As per the Wine-Searcher database, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti Grand Cru in Côte de Nuits is still the most expensive wine in the world with the average price lurking around $15,703. Our list finishes with another Côte de Nuits, Leroy Domaine d’Auvenay Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru at the more moderate average price of $4037; that being said, it’s still the price of a small car.
In case you were wondering, Côte de Nuits is the top half of the Cote d’Or, a subregion of Burgundy. This 12.5-mile-long strip is responsible for rich wine enthusiasts emptying their pockets the world over. Interestingly, four of the Burgundies listed are fully biodynamic with DRC partly biodynamic – whether or not you believe in the power of biodynamism, it’s certainly proving lucrative.
Burgundy aside, the only other wines to make it into the list were the aforementioned German Rieslings or more precisely Trockenbeerenauslese from the Mosel Valley. Trockenbeerenauslese being the sweetest, rarest expressions of Riesling made only in the very best years and ones from the Mosel, the beating heart of German Riesling, are rarer still. Combine great craftsmanship with scarcity – and hey presto – you’ve got stratospheric price tags.
It’s important to note, though, that these are not the most expensive individual wines in the world. This list is based on the average prices for wines listed on Wine-Searcher, which have a minimum of four vintages available and are available from more than one merchant, thereby excluding auctions and one-off bottles.
1. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanée-Conti Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits DRC is top dog (again) of the world’s most expensive wines with an average price of $15,703, an increase of more than $2000 from last year. With the ability to command prices as high as $87,000, this wine will only ever be tasted by a tiny percentile across the globe. Widely considered the greatest amongst Vosne-Romanée’s wines with only around 450 cases produced per vintage, scarcity and superb winemaking alone don’t fully account for the dizzying prices DRC inspires – DRC is, according to Sotheby’s, «the closest thing that Burgundy has to a brand».
2. Egon Müller Scharzhoberger Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese, Mosel Second on the list at an average price of $9883, is the Scharzhoberger TBA. Only produced in the most exceptional of vintages, these wines have the ability to go on for what seems like forever. So high is the sugar content, Jancis Robinson described the 1990 (which will still be drinking in 2060) as «a tightrope between sugar and acidity». These wines are exceptional in that the most long lived are both beverage and artefact and have been known to fetch as much as $35,135.
© Moselland Touristik | The steep vineyards and steep prices of the Mosel continue to impress.3. Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits Back to the Côte de Nuits, Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru is the most expensive Pinot Noir from Chambolle-Musigny at an average price of $7880. Owned by Madame Lalou Bize-Leroy, one of Burgundy’s most influential figures, these vineyards have been managed biodynamically since 1988, as per her philosophy. Domaine Leroy is her vision and hers alone, as she has said one of the secrets to her winemaking is that she simply loves her vines more than most people. Famously low-yielding, the vines are never replanted all at once but replaced individually as and when needed. Often getting near-perfect scores, these wines show that perfection comes at a price with some vintages worth up to $33,188.
4. Domaine Leflaive Montrachet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune Our first Chardonnay at $7747, from Burgundy of course, is by Domaine Leflaive in Puligny-Montrachet. The Montrachet vineyard is quite possibly the most famous white wine vineyard in the world and Domaine Leflaive one of its most exalted producers. Founder Joseph Leflaive’s great-grandson, Brice de La Morandière manages the estate using the biodynamic principles his aunt Anne-Claude made popular in the region. Dedicated almost exclusively to Chardonnay, certain vintages of these heavenly whites have been known to hit the $22,000 mark.
5. Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Musigny Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits We are now resolutely back in Chambolle-Musigny with Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier’s Le Musigny at roughly $6746 a bottle. Passionate about using organic methods, they have been certified organic since 1999. Winemaker Christophe Roumier doesn’t use any pesticides or sprays, instead he looks after the land by plowing the vines. Looking after the terroir is his concern, as he has stated: «I make wines from terroir that expresses itself through Pinot Noir.» A favorite with critics, it has been scored one of the top five Le Musigny wines with prices to match.
6. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Montrachet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune Our second offering from DRC and our second white, at an average price of $5625, DRC Montrachet Grand Cru is one of the great French Chardonnays with the capacity to age for decades. Montrachet Chardonnays are lauded as the most elegant and quintessential expressions of the varietal. And with the DRC machine behind it, this wine is more than capable of attracting big spenders willing to part with some serious bucks.
7. Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese, Mosel And now back to Germany with another Trockenbeerenauslese Riesling at $4950 a bottle. However, for this one we go to Wehlen, another subregion of Mosel. Rated as one of the top five German wines – Jancis Robinson gave the 1959 vintage her highest score, an accolade she administers sparingly. Highly collectible, Joh. Jos. Prüm is one of Germany’s most famous Riesling producers, having being going in one way or another for hundreds of years. With a barely-there website that makes it clear if you’re not in the know, you most certainly can’t afford to buy.
8. Domaine Leroy Chambertin Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits The most expensive Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin at $4170, it is the second of Madame Lalou Bize-Leroy’s wines to make it onto our list. A darling of the critics, as with all her wines, it is biodynamic and can be astonishingly rare – the 2015 release reportedly consisted of just two barrels.
9. Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese Goldkapsel, Mosel Number 9 is new to our list and extremely rare, with Wine-Searcher often only listing a few vintages at a time. Commanding average prices of $4161, the Fritz Haag vineyard is an old one – favored by Napoleon, the earliest records dating back to 1605. The top spots of this vineyard are given only to Riesling and in the best years, to the most treasured style of all, the nectar-like Trockenbeerenauslese. The Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese Goldkapsel is particularly elusive, meaning its name is almost as large as its price tag.
10. Leroy Domaine d’Auvenay Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits We finish our list with another newbie at $4037 from none other than Lalou Bize-Leroy. This time from her other estate, Domaine d’Auvenay, which she took over after the death of her husband. The Domaine d’Auvenay Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru is one of the five most expensive wines from Mazis-Chambertin. With very little made – it is highly desirable and strictly allocated. And as if to come full circle – much of what Bize-Leroy learnt was at her former estate, DRC.