How much is that vino in the window? Starting from fermented grapes, fine wines do age better with time. Highly appreciated by true connoisseurs, these wines are rich in taste, bold in flavor and provide complexity and cult-like following for some of the world’s most highly touted of vintages. Whether purchased through specialty stores, bided on at auction, or sold by private collectors, these five bottles are some of the most sought after as well as the most expensive wines ever sold
Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992 – $500,000
The Screaming Eagle Cabernet 1992 broke the mold of young wines not being preferred by collectors during a charitable buy at the 2000 Napa Valley Wine Auction. Although not traditionally bought and sold, the imperial-sized bottle cult California producer Screaming Eagle is aged in 60% new oak with only 175 cases being produced. The standard-sized bottle can be purchased at a fraction of the winning bidder paid ranging between $8,000-$12,000 for a 750/ml bottle.
Cheval Blanc 1947 – $304,000
Being one of only two wines that have been given the Class A status in the Classification of Saint-Emilion wine, this famed wine was purchased in 2010 at a Christie’s auction in Geneva. This six-liter bottle is from a vintage that is 14.4% alcohol with a port-like taste that is thick in texture. Purchased by a private collector, this bottle is 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Franc and came from stocks held at the Hôtel Beau Rivage in Geneva.
Heidsieck 1907 – $275,000
Discovered in the Gulf of Finland among the shipwreck of the Swedish freighter Jönköping in 1998, this old Champagne carries a hefty price tag along with an intriguing journey. On its voyage from Sweden to the Imperial Court of Czar Nicholas II of Russia carrying 2000 bottles of 1907 Heidsieck, the ship was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat. While most of the bottles on board were actually preserved, some still sold for as much as $275,000.
Château Lafite-Rothschild 1869 – $232,692
Three Château Lafite-Rothschild 1869 bottles were sold at auction in 2010 in Hong Kong in a single lot. For a total of $690,000, a single collector purchased three bottles, going for multiples more than expected and was the world’s most expensive standard sized bottle of wine ever sold. This vintage was the first vintage under the ownership of Baron James de Rothschild and first to be Chateau bottled at Lafite.
Chateau Margaux 1787 – $225,000
Although this wine was technically never bought by a collector or won at auction, it carried a price tag of $225,000 due to an insurance payout. New York wine merchant William Sokolin brought the bottle to the Four Seasons in New York for dinner in 1989 and at dinner the waiter knocked the bottle over, breaking it. Claimed to be one of the famed Thomas Jefferson bottles, but the initials Th.J were never actually authenticated as part of Jefferson’s personal collection, insurers paid out $225,000 for the very old and rare bottle.