10 Most Expensive Bottles of Wine Ever Sold

| |

Wine is some of the most diverse alcohol in the world and comes in numerous varieties and price points. While the stuff you get from the grocery store is perfectly fine, all of the wines on this list are the pinnacle of luxury. All of the world’s most expensive wine cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The wines topping this list are rare and greatly desired by wine aficionados everywhere. Some of these wines have historical importance, two of them might have belonged to Thomas Jefferson. The remaining wines are expensive because of how exceptional they are.

  1. 2015 Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru
  2. Price: $101,260 – $136,554 (current average price)
    Year Sold: Various
    Type of Wine: Red Wine
    2015 Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru
    photo source: bestofwines.com

    In recent years, wines from Domaine Leroy with a vintage before 2016 have become incredibly expensive. Currently, the most expensive is the 2015 Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru, which goes for over $100,000 per bottle. This wine often earns near perfect scores (out of 100) by wine experts. The 2015 Musigny has been described as having aromatic intensity, with bright red berry fruit and the silkiest of tannins. Experts expect the 2015 Musigny to remain highly sought after for years to come.

    Did you know?

    In 2018, Domaine Leroy unseated Romanée-Conti for having the most expensive wines. Romanée-Conti had the most expensive wines for more than two decades


  3. 1811 Chateau d’Yquem
  4. Price: $117,000 (price paid through retail sale)
    Year Sold: 2011
    Type of Wine: White Wine
    1811 Chateau d’Yquem
    photo source: tastingbook.com

    The 1811 Chateau d’Yquem sold in 2011 for $117,000 is the most expensive bottle of white wine ever. The wine was purchased by French sommelier Christian Vanneque from The Antique Wine Company. Vanneque said that he wanted to display the 1811 Chateau d’Yquem behind bullet-proof glass at this restaurant Sip Sunset Grill, in Bali, Indonesia.

    Like the other expensive wines on this list, the 1811 Chateau d’Yquem is quite rare. Only 3,000 bottles were made, with most of them exported to Russia.

    Did you know?

    At the time of the sale in 2011, only 10 bottles of 1811 Chateau d’Yquem were confirmed to still exist.


  5. 1787 Château Lafite
  6. Price: $156,450 (price paid at auction)
    Year Sold: 1985
    Type of Wine: Bordeaux (Red Wine)
    1787 Château Lafite
    photo source: tastingbook.com

    In 1985, during a Christie’s auction, a bottle of 1787 Château Lafite, that supposedly belonged to Thomas Jefferson, was purchased for $156,450. The buyer was Christoper Forbes, Vice President of Forbes magazine at the time and son of the magazine’s founder Malcolm Forbes. Of course, at the time, this was a record-setting sale.

    The 1787 Château Lafite had reportedly been found behind a bricked-up cellar wall in an old building in Paris, along with another valuable wine on this list, the 1787 Château Margaux. Wine experts believe that the wine had been part of an order placed by Thomas Jefferson in 1790. However, since then, the authenticity of the 1787 Château Lafite has been called into question, but many still believe the wine really belonged to Jefferson.

    Did you know?

    A year before the 1985 Christie’s auction where the 1787 Château Lafite was sold, a bottle of 1784 Château d’Yquem was opened so a select group of wine connoisseurs could taste the antique wine.


  7. 2004 Penfolds Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon
  8. Price: $168,000 (retail price)
    Year Sold: 2012
    Type of Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Wine)
    2004 Penfolds Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon
    photo source: The Daily Mail

    In 2012, South Australia’s most famous winery, Penfolds, released limited edition ampoules of its rare 2004 Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon. Only 12 hand-blown glass ampoules were produced and they had a retail price of $168,000 each. The ampoules were tiny, containing only 150 ml of wine.

    According to Penfolds, wines produced under the brands Block 42 label are ultra-rare because very little grapes are produced by what the brand believes are the oldest continuously producing Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the world. The vines date back to 1855 and the last vintage, prior to the 2004 wine, was in 1996.

    Did you know?

    The ampoules of 2004 Penfolds Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon are so special that Penfolds’ chief winemaker will fly out to meet any buyer and assist them in opening, pouring, and tasting the rare wine.


  9. 1787 Château Margaux
  10. Price: $225,000 (value of insurance)
    Year Sold: N/A
    Type of Wine: Bordeaux (Red Wine)
    1787 Château Margaux
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons (actual 1787 bottle not pictured)

    This bottle of 1787 Château Margaux has a unique history with a bit of a tragic ending. The wine was  discovered in 1985 behind a Paris cellar wall, inscribed with the initials Th.J, and generated a lot of interest as many people believed it belonged to Thomas Jefferson. The hype around the 1787 Château Margaux was so high that Manhattan wine merchant William Sokolin, who had the wine on consignment, valued it at $519,750.

    However, insurance only valued the wine at $225,000. In 1989, Sokolin brought the 1787 Château Margaux to the annual $250-per-person black-tie Bordeaux dinner at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City, and accidentally broke the bottle. Because the bottle didn’t shatter, Sokolin was able to salvage some of the wine and rushed home to throw it in the freezer.

    Did you know?

    As William Sokolin was rushing home with his broken bottle of 1787 Château Margaux, he set it down for a moment, leaving behind a puddle. The manager of the Four Seasons restaurant dipped his finger in the puddle of wine and declared “Yuck.”


  11. 1869 Château Lafite-Rothschild
  12. Price: $232,692 (price paid at auction)
    Year Sold: 2010
    Type of Wine: Bordeaux (Red Wine)
    1869 Château Lafite-Rothschild
    photo source: irongate.wine

    1869 Château Lafite-Rothschild is yet another legendary Bordeaux wine worth top dollar whenever a bottle comes up for sale. In 2010, during a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong, three bottles of the 1869 Château Lafite-Rothschild were up for sale. An anonymous buyer snagged all three bottles, paying $232,692 per bottle. At the time, this sale set a record for the most ever paid for a bottle of wine. As you can see, this record has since been smashed repeatedly in the past decade.

    According to news reports, Lafite is rare in Asia and wealthy Hong Kong buyers are willing to pay anything to get their hands on a bottle. That 2010 auction was the first time that Lafite sold wines directly from its cellars in Asia.

    Did you know?

    While bottles of 1869 Château Lafite-Rothschild, one was found and sold in 2019 by IronGate.Wine, a leading online wine retailer of private collections, for the low price of $100,000.


  13. 1947 Château Cheval Blanc
  14. Price: $304,375 (price paid at auction)
    Year Sold: 2010
    Type of Wine: Bordeaux (Red Wine)
    1947 Château Cheval Blanc
    photo source: Sotheby’s

     

    Among wine enthusiasts, the 1947 Château Cheval Blanc is the pinnacle of Bordeaux wines and is often touted as the greatest wine of the 20th century. Of course, a wine with this reputation doesn’t come cheap and cases of 1947 Château Cheval Blanc sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The highest amount ever paid for 1947 Château Cheval Blanc was $304,375 at a Christie’s auction in 2010.

    Reportedly, 110,000 bottles of 1947 Château Cheval Blanc were made, but very few have survived. This only adds to the wine’s rarity. Additionally, 1947 was expected to be a bad year for the Bordeaux region’s wine harvest. The summer was scorching and grapes were shriveling. Despite the challenges,  1947 Château Cheval Blanc ended up becoming one of the most exceptional wines of the 20th century.

    Did you know?

    In the Pixar film Ratatouille, the feared food critic Anton Ego visits Gusteau’s and orders a bottle of 1947 Château Cheval Blanc to go with his meal.


  15. 1945 Château Mouton-Rothschild
  16. Price: $310,700 (price paid at auciton)
    Year Sold: 1997
    Type of Wine: Red Wine Blend
    1945 Château Mouton-Rothschild
    photo source: chateau.com

     

    The Château Mouton Rothschild wine estate is one of the most famous vineyards in Bordeaux, France. While any wine from the brand is worth shelling out for, the most expensive is the 1945 Château Mouton Rothschild. Bottles of the 1945 vintage regularly sell for tens of thousands of dollars, but the highest someone paid at auction for a Jeroboam (a larger bottle of wine than normal) was $310,700 in 1997.

    Adding to the allure of the 1945 Château Mouton-Rothschild is the fact that that year’s harvest was much smaller than usual because the Rothschild had to flee during World War II because they were Jewish. However, while the yield was small, the grapes had ripened perfectly and developed an intense flavor that is present in the wine.  

    Did you know?

    The “V” on the label of the 1945 Château Mouton-Rothschild is to pay homage to the Allied Forces during the Second World War. The vintage was produced not long after the end of World War II.


  17. 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon
  18. Price: $500,000 (price paid at auction)
    Year Sold: 2000
    Type of Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Wine)
    1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon
    photo source: klwines.com

     

    Screaming Eagle is a legendary Napa Valley winery whose wines have achieved cult states amongst wine enthusiasts. Of all the Screaming Eagle wines, none are more iconic that the 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, the winery’s inaugural vintage. The 1992 Cabernet is known for being exceptional and it received 99 out of 100 points from wine critic Robert Parker not long after the wine was first released in 1995.

    Only 175 cases of the 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon were produced and they have rarely come up for sale. Reportedly one bottle was sold for $500,000 at a charity auction in Napa Valley in 2000.

    Did you know?

    In 2008, a Shanghai billionaire paid $500,000 at an auction for six bottles of 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, which also included a dinner for eight at the famed vineyard.


  19. 1945 Romanée-Conti Grand Cru
  20. Price: $558,000 (price paid at auction)
    Year Sold: 2018
    Type of Wine: Burgundy (Red Wine)
    1945 Romanée-Conti Grand Cru
    photo source: Bloomberg

    In 2018, a bottle of 1945 Romanée-Conti Grand Cru at a Sotheby’s auction for a record-setting $558,000, making it the most expensive bottle of wine ever in the world. This is the highest price paid for any bottle of wine ever at auction. All wines from the the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti are highly sought after, but the 1945 Burgundy is legendary. The 1945 Romanée-Conti Grand Cru is the last of the famed vineyard’s wine from ungrafted vines.

    The original roots of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti date all the way back to 1585. Following the 1945 harvest, which was a particularly hard year for winemakers, all of the original Romanée-Conti vines were ripped out. They were not replanted until 1947. Additionally, only 600 bottles of 1945 Romanée-Conti Grand Cru were produced and it has been dubbed a “unicorn” wine.

    Did you know?

    In the same 2018 Sotheby’s auction, a second bottle of 1945 Romanée-Conti Grand Cru was sold to a second private collector for $496,000.

Previous

8 Most Expensive Burgers Sold Around the World

8 Most Expensive Movies Ever Made

Next

Leave a Comment