The 5 most expensive wines in the world

Posted by Alex Cohen

Expensive wines. We’ve all been there. You’re thumbing through the wine menu at a fancy restaurant, nodding sagely at the broad selection of bottles on offer with the full knowledge that you’ll be picking the second cheapest on the menu. (Which, incidentally, is probably not the best tactic.)

While you’re not alone, there are some for whom the second-cheapest doesn’t even come into play. We’ve gathered the five most expensive bottles of wine ever sold, for those wealthy collectors and enthusiasts who value wine above cars and houses.

We’ve compiled a list of five of the world’s most expensive wines. In reverse order, they are…

5: 1947 Château Cheval-Blanc: £192,000

The only imperial bottle of this Saint-Émilion Grand Cru in existence was sold at auction in 2010.

Like 1945, 1947 was a hot year, resulting in one of Bordeaux’s most sought-after vintages. Château Cheval-Blanc is one of only four of Saint-Émilion’s ‘Premier Grand Cru Classé (A)’ producers, the highest ranking possible for winemakers in the region.

What else could you buy with that kind of money?

3,843 bottles of 2013 Château Le Chatelet St-Émilion Grand Cru Classé– a slightly more affordable alternative to the Cheval-Blanc!

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4: 1907 Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Diamant Bleu: £216,185

The only champagne on this list has an incredible story behind it.

Originally ordered by the case-load for Nicholas II of Russia, the champagne was being transported on a ship that was sunk by a German U-boat in 1916. As a result, the precious cargo sank to the bottom of the sea where it rested for over 80 years.

In 1998, the bottles were discovered near Finland, with almost half of them intact and well-preserved (which speaks volumes for Hiedsieck’s production quality).

Two bottles went for more than £200,000 each at an auction held in Moscow – finally making it to Russia!

What else could you buy?

A model spaceship used in the first Star Wars film.

3: 1945 Mouton-Rothschild: £244,443

A Jeroboam (four-and-a-half liter bottle) from one of Bordeaux’s most famous estates broke records at the time of its sale in 2007.

Produced with a label celebrating the Allied victory in the Second World War, the wine solidifies 1945 as a landmark year in French wine production. Michael Broadbent, one of the industry’s most well-respected voices, said that:

‘[it is] without a doubt the greatest claret of the twentieth century.

What else could you buy?

This 50-foot powerboat.

2: 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon: £393,000

A contentious entry on the list, the 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon isn’t counted by some because this imperial (six-litre) bottle was bought at a charity auction in 2000.

While it may not have been bought for its contents, the estate’s debut wine is still incredibly well-rated and is not cheap – a standard bottle of the 1992 vintage will set you back around £7,500!

What else could you buy?

If you’re a car fan, you could nab a Pagani Zonda and still have £3,000 to spare.

1: 1945 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti: £424,000

In late 2018, a bottle of this world-famous Burgundy sold at Sotheby’s for a record-breaking sum, putting its £32,000 estimate to shame. Why was it so expensive?

The 1945 vintage is an important one for Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. It was the last year of production before the vineyard was re-planted, and inclement winter weather meant that only 600 bottles were produced for sale.

Dubbed a ‘unicorn wine’ by some, it’s a bucket-list bottle for any serious collector. The fierce competition resulted in a bidding war that set the world record for the most expensive wine ever sold.

What else could you buy?

How about a one-bedroom flat in Clapham?

Are expensive wines worth it?

It’s tempting to be discouraged by numbers like these, especially if you’re new to the world of wine. If the best bottles are going for six figures, what chance do regular wine drinkers have of becoming true connoisseurs?

Don’t despair. Take it from Jancis Robinson, one of the most prominent figures in wine today:

‘There is no distinct correlation between price and quality as far as wine is concerned. Far too many…are clearly priced by marketing people, or by those keen to develop or protect a reputation, rather than wine lovers.’

You don’t need £424,000 to get your hands on a fantastic bottle (though we wouldn’t say no to a glass of that Romanée-Conti!). Whether it’s the second cheapest on the menu or the most expensive wine ever sold, the only thing for it is to enjoy every drop!

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