The famous American author, F. Scott Fitzgerald said it best: “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” From the cars they drive and food they eat, they only want the best. No one knows this better than wine makers, whom for centuries have produced a wide selection of very costly wines to appeal to the most discerning connoisseur. Wine making is an art, and some wine manufacturers turn the fruit of the vine into heavenly blends that some say are well worth the extravagant cost.
Although many fine wines can pass the “sniff test” and have just the right balance, some stand out as the crème of the crop and have a price tag to match.
Henri Jayer, Richebourg, 1987 – $16,000
Christie’s Auction House estimates this wine’s value at $3,000-$4,000 per bottle, yet Decanter.com estimates the Henry Jayer Grand Cru wine’s value at around $16,000 across their vintages. Made from grapes grown at high altitude, this brand of wine is known for it’s perfect balance, although the average wine enthusiast may have trouble balancing their checkbook after purchasing a bottle.
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Montrachet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune, France 1978 – $24,000
You won’t find this brand next to the Gallo on the shelves of Walmart, as a collection of white wines from this exclusive wine maker went for $24,000 a bottle in 2001, according to The Huffington Post. What makes this wine so special is that unlike some aged wines, these bottles tasted as good as they looked. Many bidders gathered at Sotheby’s New York for a chance to add these beauties to their prestigious wine cellar.
Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1941, $24,675
It’s not surprising to see a California wine on the list when you consider the company is owned by Hollywood director Francis Ford Coppola. This wine from the director’s private collection garnered $11,400 at Christies in 2011, however it has garnered a price of up to almost a quarter million on the auction block, depending on the bids. The acclaimed film writer loves that vintage so much, he says he keeps an empty bottle on display in his home. Mr. Coppola also makes more affordable blends of wine, featuring his name, available at your local liquor store.
Massandra Sherry Ukraine 1775, $65,000
When a wine comes from the oldest wine cellar in the Ukraine it has to be good. In 2007 this rare sherry fetched that hefty above mentioned sum at auction in 2001. This wine is so treasured by the people that it was considered a crime against the Ukranian heritage when a bottle was served to Russian President Vladamir Putin and former Italian premier Silvio Berlussconi, according to The Globe and Mail newspaper. If traveling in the Ukraine, it’s probably best not to order this delectable sherry as an aperitif.
Chateau d’Yquem 1811, France, $117,000
This bottle tops the list of the most expensive white wine, according to Finances Online. As it contains a good amount of sugar as a preservative, this wine is vintage and contains a blend of Semillon (80%) and Sauvignon Blanc (20%). This brand of wine is known for its sweetness, complexity, and rich body.
Chatau Lafite, 1787, $156,450
You wouldn’t want to drink it after over 200 years, but wouldn’t you like to show off a wine label initialed by Thomas Jefferson? Taste tested and President approved, Jefferson made good use of his ambassador trip to France to sample the best wines, and etched his initials in this bottle of burgundy, plus a white wine and a sherry that went for hefty sums. So if you would rather have a historic bottle of fine French wine than a house, you may want to track down the owner who scored the bottle and see if he or she will cut a deal.
Chateau Margaux 1787- $225,000
It’s a shame to let good wine go to waste, especially when the bottle bore the initials of wine enthusiast Thomas Jefferson. During an evening out, a waiter accidentally bumped the trophy wine and it shattered on the floor! According to New York Wine Events, this beauty was the most expensive bottle of wine that was never actually sold. The man who scored this treasure on consignment brought the wine to the famous Four Season’s Restaurant to show off, as he wanted to sell it for $500,000. The possessor of the broken bottle, William Sokolin, was smart enough to have that precious liquid insured, and the company paid out $250,000, for the loss, but the naturally irate customer wanted $500,000 because he never got to taste his expensive purchase, and hoped to sell it for much more than the covered value. It was most likely a really bad night for the fumbling waiter as well.
Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck, $275,000
History buffs and wine collectors alike can appreciate this wine that survived a World War I Torpedo attack. These bottles of 1907 champagne went down with the ship, only to be found in 1998, off the coast of Finland. The wine on board was headed for the Imperial Court of Tsar Nicholas, so there were over 2,000 bottles aboard the sunken freighter. These bottles sold at auction for over a quarter million apiece.
Royal De Maria 2000 Canada, $250,000
Self taught wine maker Joseph DeMaria was experimenting with ice wine, a method of freezing grapes before fermentation, and came up with a brand so popular that Queen Elizabeth requested a taste of his wine during a royal visit to Canada. 2000 was a very good year for DeMaria’s ice wine, with a bottle retailing for a quarter million dollars. To learn more about this specialized brand, visit Royaldemaria.com. Considering he got his famous vintage from getting the standard process of ice wine making wrong at first, his mistake became his fortune.
Cheval-Blanc 1947, $304,375
According to Guinness World Records, this bottle was sold at Christie’s auction house in Switzerland on November 16, 2010, making it the world’s most impressive wine purchase. According to the company website, it’s a “miraculous vintage,” as the weather was extremely hot and dry in 1947, adding a special richness from highly concentrated grapes to the formula.