The Most Expensive Bottle of Wine: 20 Wines To Dream About In 2021

most expensive bottle of wine

The most expensive bottle of wine in the world is constantly changing. Today, the most expensive bottle has sold for over half a million dollars. Whether you are a serious collector or just curious, check out this guide to the most expensive bottles of wine.

Don’t Get Frustrated By The Most Expensive Bottle of Wine

When you read about expensive wine and the crazy wine prices that wine collectors pay, don’t get frustrated. Sometimes wine collectors buy these rarest bottles at a charity auction, so the public benefits from the high prices.

Ultimately, you don’t have to be a wealthy wine collector or attend a single auction to enjoy wine. Wine drinkers who read take a short course like The Everyday Guide to Wine (Audible Great Course) [see my full review] will be able to enjoy affordable wines. Taking just five to 10 minutes to enjoy wine, read wine notes from Robert Parker, and reflecting on your wine glass adds much to your experience as an average wine lover.

1  1945 Romanee-Conti – $558,000

  • Country of Origin: France
  • Wine Region: Burgundy
  • Production Year: 1945

Historical Notes:

In 2018, the 1945 Romanée Conti set a new record at a wine auction. According to Decanter, two bottles of the vintage sold for $558,000 and $496,000 at a Sotheby’s wine auction. The high prices are partly driven by scarcity. There were only 600 bottles of wine produced by Romanée Conti in 1945.

If you ever become an avid wine collector, focusing on French Burgundy is a good bet because this French wine region has produced some of the best wines in the world.

2 Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992 – $500,000

  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Wine Region: Napa Valley
  • Production Year: 1992

Historical Notes:

No expensive wine list would be complete with Screaming Eagle. It holds the “finest wine” status among American wine producers. It’s inspiring to know that American wine can compete and win in the wine auction world.

3 Jeroboam of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1945 – $114,000

  • Country of Origin: France
  • Wine Region: Bordeaux
  • Production Year: 1945

Historical Notes:

A Jeroboam is a massive type of wine bottle that holds three liters of wine (i.e., equivalent to four bottles of wine). A Bordeaux Jeroboam may be even larger, containing the equivalent of five bottles of wine. The bottle of wine was sold to an anonymous bidder at Christie’s in London in 1997.

The Château Mouton Rothschild 1945 (also described as a 1945 Mouton-Rothschild) has legendary status in the world of French wines and collectible wines. The 1945 wine label celebrates the end of the Second World War with the phrase “Année de la Victoire” (year of victory). During the war, the winery was confiscated by the Germans and run like a military operation.

4 Chateau Cheval Blanc 1947  – $305,000

  • Country of Origin: France
  • Wine Region: Bordeaux
  • Production Year: 1947

Historical Notes:

When this Chateau Cheval Blanc bottle of wine was sold in November 2010, it held the title for the most expensive bottle of wine.  Established in the 19th century, Chateaux Cheval Blanc has a long-standing reputation among wine producers for making the finest wine. On wine-searcher.com, the average price per standard bottle of Cheval Blanc in 2021 is $743.

5 Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck – $275,000

Historical Notes:

Are you looking for an incredible wine history story to rival The Billionaire’s Vinegar? Look no further. This particular bottle is usually considered the most expensive bottle of champagne ever sold. It was first sold at a wine auction in London in 1999 for around $2000 to $4000. Later, the wine sold for a much higher price.

This bottle has a unique status in terms of wine in history because it was salvaged from a shipwreck! Even more fascinating, the ship was sunk during the First World War by a German submarine. The fact that the wine survived an encounter with a German submarine makes it a contender for the rarest wine. Further, these wines were being shipped to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the last of the Romanov rulers.

6 Chateau Lafite 1869 – $230,000

  • Country of Origin: France
  • Wine Region: Bordeaux
  • Production Year: 1869

Historical Notes:

Also known as Château Lafite-Rothschild, this individual bottle is notable for a few reasons. Relatively few wines from before 1900 still exist in private collections. When an auction house offers a wine this old, it creates quite a sensation!

As a wine connoisseur, you are right to have serious doubts about any single bottle of wine this old. The aging process may have destroyed everything of interest in the wine. In addition, it is difficult for a wine merchant or auction house to verify the quality of the wine.

7 Chateau Margaux 1787 – $225,000

  • Country of Origin: France
  • Wine Region: Bordeaux
  • Production Year: 1787

Historical Notes:

Some people considered this wine bottle to be part of Thomas Jefferson’s wine collection for a time. That story is explored in rich detail in the book “The Billionaire’s Vinegar.” (read my full review here). The Chateau Margaux 1787 bottle has achieved cult status in the world of collectible wines. The bottle has even been put on display in Hong Kong!

8 Ampoule from Penfolds – $168,000

  • Country of Origin: Australia
  • Wine Region: South Australia
  • Production Year: 2004

Historical Notes:

This Australian wine stands out as an exciting competitor to well-known French wines from the likes of Château Lafite. Established in 1844, the Australian wine producer is known for its affordable wines. However, the producer is also getting involved in the high-end wine world.

In 2012, the winery producer launched a rare 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon priced at $168,000. This bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon was remarkable for a few reasons. The bottle of wine was not put in a standard bottle. Instead, the wine was put into a hand-blown glass.

9 Chateau Lafite 1787 – $156,450

  • Country of Origin: France
  • Wine Region: Bordeaux
  • Production Year: 1787

Historical Notes:

When this bottle of wine was sold at a wine auction, it was the most expensive bottle of wine in the world. Several factors drove the wine’s high price. First, Chateaux Lafite has a long-established reputation for producing exceptional wine. Second, it is incredibly uncommon to find wines from before 1800 at wine auctions. The third and most significant reason is wine history. This bottle of wine was allegedly thought to be part of Thomas Jefferson’s wine collection. That exciting story is told in greater detail in the book “The Billionaire’s Vinegar.”

10 Henri Jayer, Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux 1999 — $136,955

  • Country of Origin: France
  • Wine Region: Burgundy
  • Production Year: 1999

Historical Notes:

This classic French Burgundy wine sold for six figures at a wine auction in Hong Kong a few years ago (find out more about the best Burgundy vintages).

11 Cheval Blanc St-Emilion 1947 – $135,125

  • Country of Origin: France
  • Wine Region: Bordeaux
  • Production Year: 1947

Historical Notes:

Even though there are 110,000 bottles of this red wine produced, it still inspires avid wine collectors. The vintage stands out because it was a year where the grapes had an unusually high sugar content. Like many bottles of Bordeaux red wine, the wine is a blend of different grapes: 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Franc.

12 Chateau D’Yquem – $117,000

  • Country of Origin: France
  • Wine Region: Bordeaux
  • Production Year: 1811

Historical Notes:

When this bottle of wine was made, Napoleon ruled France. Perhaps that is one reason why this bottle of white wine sold for over $100,000. There is also more wine history involved with this specific bottle. 1811 is known as a “comet year,” and some wine connoisseurs say the appearance of a comet makes the wine even better, but I doubt there is any meaningful connection.

The buyer of this bottle of wine, Christian Vanneque, is also connected to wine history. He was one of the experts at the Judgement of Paris wine tasting, where California and French wines competed for recognition.

Most Expensive Bottle of Wine: Colectible Wines Under $100,000

The wines covered above are essentially the province of millionaires and billionaires with effectively unlimited budgets to build their private collections. The following few wines could not be described as affordable wines, but they are much lower in price. You might almost dream of buying one of these for yourself for a special occasion – maybe after earning a huge bonus?

13 Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1951 – $38,000 ($51, 750 Australian dollars)

  • Country of Origin: Australia
  • Wine Region: South Australia
  • Production Year: 1951

Historical Notes:

Decanter reports that this Australian wine was sold to a private collector by MS Wines in 2017. The Australian wine is a blend of Shiraz and a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. Penfolds is one of Australia’s oldest wine producers that can trace its business back to 1844.

14 Romanee-Conti Grand Cru 1990 – $21,200

  • Country of Origin: France
  • Wine Region: Burgundy
  • Production Year: 1990

Historical Notes:

Known as “DRC” by serious wine collectors, this vintage always inspires tremendous interest from wine collectors. In 2015, Barron’s reported the sale of a wine collection from New York that emphasized DRC: nearly half the collection was DRC.

Aside from the high quality of the wine, scarcity is the critical reason for the high prices. DRC typically produces less than 1,000 cases, while their competitors in Bordeaux, like Lafite Rothschild, will usually produce 20,000 cases. A case of wine contains 12 bottles of wine.

15 Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru 2012 – $14,450

  • Country of Origin: France
  • Wine Region: Burgundy
  • Production Year: 2012

Historical Notes:

This French Burgundy is exceptional, but it is so new! Domaine Leroy was established in 1998, and it has already become known as one of the best producers. The wine producers have adopted methods to emphasized ultra-low yields to emphasize quality. Since this vintage of a wine is relatively recent, you might be able to find this bottle of wine for sale.

16 Scharzhofberger Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese – $13,615

  • Country of Origin: Germany
  • Wine Region: Mosel
  • Production Year: 1999

Historical Notes:

At last, we see a German wine enter the competition for the most expensive bottle of wine. This white wine is made from sweet grapes. It has been described as “super sweet,” so keep that in mind if you ever find yourself with the opportunity to drink this wine.

18 Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Musigny Grand Cru 1990 – $11,720

  • Country of Origin: France
  • Wine Region: Burgundy
  • Production Year: 1990

Historical Notes:

According to Wine Searcher, the average price for a bottle of this French Burgundy is $15,619. However, some sellers are offering this wine for less than $5,000. Compared to some of the other wines covered here, that almost sounds like an affordable wine in comparison!

19 Domaine Leroy Chambertin Grand Cru 1990 – $7,447

  • Country of Origin: France
  • Wine Region: Burgundy
  • Production Year: 1990

Historical Notes:

This winery is featured in the movie “A Year in Burgundy,” which allows you to meet several wine producers in the region virtually. Wine connoisseurs describe this wine with the following tasting notes: blackberries, spices, raspberries, minerals, and smoke.

20 1949 Domaine Leroy Richebourg Grand Cru – $5,921

  • Country of Origin: France
  • Wine Region: Burgundy
  • Production Year: 1949

Historical Notes:

It is no surprise to see this French Burgundy running to become the most expensive bottle of wine. The word “Richebourg” can be translated as “rich city.” The region is known for its high-quality red wines. The term “Grand Cru” means that this wine is considered to be of exceptional quality.

The 1 Hour Course That Shows You How To Find Affordable Wines

Dreaming about the most expensive bottle of wine in the world is fun for a while. Eventually, we have to return to reality. Fortunately, the vast majority of the world’s wine is priced far below $100. You can find affordable wines for less than $50 in many wine shops.

When you are first getting started in wine, finding good wines that fit your budget is tricky. Fortunately, spending a few minutes learning wine shopping techniques is all you need to do. That’s why I recommend the Getting Started with Wine: Buy Smarter, Taste More wine course. In less than 60 minutes, you’ll taste three wines and find the secrets of buying wines.

The Most Expensive Bottle of Wine: 20 Wines To Dream About In 2021
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