There’s a world of difference between carefully-preserved decades-old vintages and two-for-a-tenner bottles of plonk on sale in the supermarket, not least the price tags. Serious collectors don’t deal in small fry, but are their chequebooks up to the cash demands of the most expensive wines in the world?
Chateau Cheval Blanc, 1947 – £192,000
This rare six-litre bottle of Bordeaux wine was sold to a private collector during a sale at Christies in Geneva. The only known bottle in the Imperial format was expected to sell for between US$150,000-$200,000, but smashed its estimates to sell for $304,375 (£192,000).
Chateau Lafite Rothschild, 1869 – £163,000
Back in 2010 an Asian buyer made wine history when they purchased three bottles of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild for US$232,692 (£163,000) per bottle. At the time the sale set a record for the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold at auction, clocking up a whopping $29,000 per glass!
Chateau Margaux, 1787 - £157,200
This vintage could well go down in history as the most expensive bottle of wine never sold. In 1989, the bottle collided with a tray at a wine dinner in New York, and win merchant William Sokolin scooped $225,000 (£157,200) from the insurance (although he had originally sought out a massive half a million).
Chateau Margaux, 2009 – £122,380
Chateau Margaux creeps into the top 10 again with its limited edition 12-litre 2009 vintage. Billed by many as the finest wine ever produced by the estate, only six bottles have been made, and one was sold to an Asian buyer in Dubai in 2013 for an eye-watering £122,380.
Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, 1787 – £109,300
Even the best Bordeaux only lasts around 50 years, so why the incredible price tag for this one in 1985? This particular bottle had the initial Th.J etched into it – the markings of enthusiastic oenophile Thomas Jefferson.
Petrus , 1961 – £100,800
Sold in 2011 at a Christie’s sale in New York, this Petrus vintage was expected to sell for between US$50,000 and $90,000, but the hammer went down on a considerably higher sum of $144,000 (£100,800), setting a record for the most expensive Petrus ever sold at auction.
Chateau d’Yquem, 1811 – £75,000
A 200-year-old bottle of 1811 Chateau d'Yquem was sold by The Antique Wine Company in London, to a private collector who now displays the wine in his restaurant in Bali in a bullet-proof, temperature-controlled showcase. Well, you’d hardly keep it under the stairs, would you?
Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, 1941 – £17,250
Sold in 2004, this is regarded as one of the most expensive American wines ever sold. The estate is now known as Rubicon, owned by Francis Ford Coppola, who allegedly keeps an empty bottle of this vintage on top of his fridge.
Krug, 1928 – £14,800
The coveted title of most expensive Champagne is constantly on the move, claimed by just two other vintages during the last decade. The Krug 1928 set a new record in 2009 at Acker Merrall & Condit’s first ever Hong Kong sale. Talk about opening with a bang!
Richebourg Grand Cru, 1985 – £10,625
Found to be the most expensive wine in the world on the market currently, Henri Jayer’s Richebourg Cru taking top spot has surprised oenophiles everywhere, with many assuming a Romanee-Conti would take poll position. Good luck getting hold of a bottle, though, the vintage is available in maddeningly small quantities.