There are two types of wine collectors:
- Those who stock up on what are perceived as the world’s finest wines for their own future enjoyment (and perhaps to impress their friends and associates with a well-stocked cellar).
- Those who buy wine as an investment — to sell at a future date for a significant profit, often to people who fall into the first category.
Price, of course, is not the sole arbiter of quality, but it is a legitimate starting point. If people are willing to pay an ultra-premium price for something, whether it’s wine or a car or something else, one should be able to expect an escalating level of quality.
Year to year, vintage to vintage, you’ll encounter many of the same names on the “most expensive” wine list. In 2017, according to The Telegraph in England, that list looked like this:
- Domaine de la Romanee-Conti – Romanee-Conti Grand Cru – Burgundy, France (average price per bottle: $15,789)
- Egon Muller – Scharzhofberger Riesling – Trockenbeerenauslese – Mosel, Germany ($10,956)
- Domaine Leroy – Musigny Grand Cru – Cote de Nuits, France ($7,797)
- Domaine Leflaive – Montrachet Grand Cru – Cote de Beaune, France ($6,963)
- Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier – Musigny Grand Cru – Cote de Nuits, France ($6,584)
- Domaine de la Romanee-Conti – Montrachet Grand Cru – Cote de Beaune, France ($5,591)
- Joh. Jos. Prüm – Wehlener Sonnenuhr – Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese – Mosel, Germany ($5,184)
- Fritz Haag – Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr – Riesling – Trockenbeerenauslese Goldkapsel – Mosel, Germany ($4,248)
- Domaine Leroy – Chambertin Grand Cru – Cote de Nuits, France ($4,246)
- Domaine Leroy – Richebourg Grand Cru – Cote de Nuits, France ($3,799)
A few observations…
- Only two countries are represented on this list: France and Germany. There continues to be a perception, at least among collectors and investors, that the highest-end “Old World” wines have greater value than their “New World” cousins.
- All seven of the French wines are reds — Pinot Noir, specifically — from the Burgundy appellation.
- All three of the German wines are whites — Riesling, specifically — and are crafted in a very sweet style.
- All 10 wines can be aged for years and, in a few cases, decades. That factor increases both their collectability and their value.
- The list will vary from year to year, depending on weather patterns in various appellations and the marketplace. In previous years, for instance, it was quite common to encounter a significant number of Bordeaux reds on the lists.
You can read more about the wines that made the 2017 Top 10 list here.
And if you know someone who has a bottle of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Grand Cru, tell them I’d be happy to share it with them.