Top 10 Most Expensive Red Wines In The World: Cabernet Sauvignon Tops The List

“Red wine is a great accompaniment to meat,” Mario Lemieux, a retired Canadian professional hockey player and wine collector, once said. Well, Mario, especially if the red wine is way far more expensive than the meat you are gorging on.

Over the years, the prices of some red wines have stolen the limelight away from the wine itself. Whether because of an iconic label, a former famous owner, or just simply a rare and highly valuable vintage, the wines in this list are surely some of the most lavish liquid purchases in the entire history.

Buying any of the wines on this list would make most of us declare bankruptcy. However, if you have the money or the mood to buy a really expensive bottle then here are some of the most expensive and finest red wines in the world.

This is not a definitive list admittedly, as the items here are sold differently: some are sold per bottle, jeroboam, or double-magnum.

The wine market, please take note, has a lot of intermediaries which may have a direct effect on the prices. Importers, wholesalers, as well as retailers are in the market to make a profit, so prices of wines may change depending on which level you’re dealing with. In addition, the prices of wines in auctions generally get out of hand and may result in heftier price tags.

10. Chateau Margaux 2009 Balthazar – $4,062

balthazar

Considered one of the best vintages ever produced by its estate, 2009 Chateau Margaux’s three 12-liter bottles are offered for US$195,000 by exclusive wine merchant Le Clos in Dubai International Airport.

Only six Balthazars have been produced, and only three of them are up for sale; all available exclusively through Le Clos. It is housed in a grand case of oak and raised on steel legs, with beautiful gold engravings by master craftsmen.

9. Chateau Lafite 1865 – $4,650

lafite

It is quite amazing that this wine, which has around 750 ml in every bottle, is authenticated to be just 150 years old. If you want a bottle of this wine, feel free to shell out around $ 24,577 (that excludes tax, of course). However, if you are really feeling magnanimous and want a double-magnum bottle of the wine, you can have it for just around $124,469.

In 2006, a double magnum of this wine was sold for a record $111,625 at a Sotheby’s auction. The average price per glass? About $4,650.

8. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti 1990 – $20,975

romanee

This wine enjoys the good reputation of the world’s finest Pinot Noir. Production is limited due to the strict yields but also because of the desire to capture the luscious fruit flavors in the berries. This wine is produced on a tiny parcel of land where vines are on the average over 50 years old.

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In 1996, eight bottles of this elegant wine were sold at Sotheby’s for US $224,900. The average price for a bottle of this wine is $20,975.

7. Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1945 – $23,000

rotschild

The average price for a 750 ml bottle of this wine is $16,992. In 2007, a jeroboam of this wine, regarded as one of the greatest vintages of the previous century—was sold to a bidder at Sotheby’s New York. The price? An astounding $310,700 or almost $77,675 per 750-ml bottle. A decade earlier, a jeroboam of this fine wine was bought by an anonymous bidder at Christie’s, London. The $114,614 price-tag is almost equal to $23,000 per 750 ml.

6. Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon 1941 – $24,675

inglenook

Sold in 2004 for $24,675, this Cabernet is owned by Francis Ford Coppola. According to Coppola himself it was one of the best he’d ever had. “There is a signature violet and rose petal aroma that completes this amazingly well-preserved, robust wine that had just finished fermentation at the time of Pearl Harbor.” he said.

5. Cheval Blanc 1947 – $33,781

cheval

One of the most expensive wines in the world, Cheval Blanc 1947 enjoys the privileged status of being one of only two wines that have been awarded the Class A status in the Classification of Saint-Emilion wine. In 2006, a three-liter bottle of this fine wine was bought at Vinfolio in San Francisco for $135,125 ($33,781 per 750 ml).

4. Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1951 – $38,420

penfold

At $38,420 per bottle, Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1951 is considered the most expensive Australian wine. According to reports, there are just 20 bottles of this wine that exists at present. In May 2004, a wine collector in Adelaide shelled out a cool AUS$50,200 for a bottle at an auction house.

3. Chateau Lafite 1787 – $160,000

chateau

A bottle of Chateau Lafite 1787 that was linked to Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, was sold to Malcolm Forbes in 1985 for $160,000. Despite issues over the provenance of the wine and link to Jefferson, this wine is among the most expensive single bottles of wine ever sold.

2. Chateau Margaux 1787 – $500,000

margaux

Known as the most expensive wine never to be sold, this wine’s initial price was around $500,000. It was authenticated to be once part of the wine collection of Thomas Jefferson.

Chateau Margaux 1787 was accidentally shattered in a Margaux Dinner by a waiter who knocked the bottle over and broke it. Insurers paid out around $225,000.

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1. Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 – $500,000

eagle

This is the Grand Royale of all the most expensive wines out there. In a Napa valley wine auction in 2000, this wine got the highest bid, with a whopping price tag of around $500,000.

One wine connoisseur described the wine as: “Exceptionally impressive. Sensational nose of jammy blackcurrants and subtle toasty oak. Stunningly proportioned, ripe, intense fruit, full body, great purity… inner-core of sweet, creamy, highly extracted blackcurrant/cassis fruit. Spectacular.”

Category: Financial News, Money & Entertainment

10 Comments »

  • erwinzunig says:

    I sure would love to sip a glass of any of these collections. Just an offshoot of this topic, many don’t realize that Australian wines are remarkably clean and crisp, especially the Merlots and Cabernets. They’re better than CA wine and maybe so versus French and Italian if you’re not particular about labels.

    • AussieGent says:

      “if you’re not particular about labels” – Dear Sir – please refer above to the Australian wine at #4 Valued at $38k – geez how fussy do you want to be :-O

  • jhunbell says:

    I have a feeling that waiter who broke the Chateau Margaux 1787 bottle was fired and later applied in India as valet attendant, who, in fact, crashed a Lamborghini that made it to the news recently. Seriously, that must be a nightmare to spill away $$$ when you’re just earning cents.

  • TC says:

    The bottle was broken by the importer, William Sokolin, not a waiter.

  • Jody Aveline says:

    Terribly confused, agitated and a bit sick to my stomach. One has to be completely irrational, greedy, and selfish bugger too, to purchase a bottle of wine for $500,000 when so many children die each day from malnutrition. PS, If I was the waiter (or importer or whoever broke the dam expensive bottle) I would be on all fours licking the floor dry

    • Tony J. says:

      Jody, you probably don’t realize that most, if not all, of the wine auctions in Napa and the surrounding area involve significant charitable contributions and causes which benefit a number of worthy causes. While you castigate one who would pay $500,000 for the ’92 SE, it is more likely that the winner is a very generous soul.

      • dess says:

        Tony, please don’t break my heart. I already burst into tears upon the realization of the noble cause of buying a 500,000 dollar bottle of wine. If the winner’s intention was to enjoy the bottle of wine I can understand that. The guy had the money, and just wanted to enjoy himself. However, the case tends to be as always to hide the bottle in a damp, and dark cellar away from the world like a dragon hiding his treasure in a cave lying on top of it and making sure that no one will ever find it. What a waste of great wine. And Jody, no wine is worth the indignity of licking it from the floor. Just say damn it and look ahead. Cheers.

  • MK says:

    The Screaming Eagle purchase should not be on this list as the auction itself was for charitable purposes. While not inexpensive in its own right this exact year can be had for a fraction of the auction price.

  • Ricky says:

    If you ever think you’re having a bad day, just be glad you’re not the unfortunate person that spent $500,000 on a single bottle of Thomas Jefferson’s wine, only to have it broken by a member of the waitstaff. Also, be grateful you’re not the person that broke a half-million dollar wine authenticated as being owned by the third President of the USA. That was not a wine for drinking, that was a wine for displaying as a part of history (sort of). Buying a 1992 SE for $500k is one thing, but the 1787 Margaux was owned by Thomas Jefferson and was 330 years old! At that point, it’s a collector’s item, not a drinking wine… in my opinion, anyway, obviously, at least one very rich person disagrees with me.

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