Special Report

The World’s Most Expensive Wines Over the Past Decade

Colman Andrews

Source: Victor Grigas / Wikimedia Commons

10. Moët & Chandon Esprit de Siécle
> Average price per bottle: $13,209

The name of this Champagne, from the famed producer of Dom Pérignon and other top-flight sparklers, means “spirit of the century.” It was produced in the late 1990s as a celebration of the new millennium, and is a blend of wines from what were considered the 11 best Champagne vintages of the 20th century — going all the way back to 1900. Only 323 bottles — magnums, the equivalent of two bottles each — were made.

Source: Stephen Colebourne / Flickr

9. Pather Madeira, Borges Family Reserve, 1720
> Average price per bottle: $14,995

An example of an esteemed variety of fortified wine (spiked with neutral grape spirits) from the Portuguese island of Madeira — the Founding Fathers were great Madeira fans — this might be the one wine on this list whose genuine rarity makes it worth this kind of money. Though the Madeira firm of H.M. Borges was founded only in 1877, the Borges family collected older examples of the wine, including this one. And yes, it was really made in 1720 — 23 years before Thomas Jefferson was born — and yes, by all accounts, it should still be drinkable.

Source: Tomas er / Wikimedia Commons

8. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti Grand Cru
> Average price per bottle: $15,254

This is the top-of-the-line wine from the most famous wine estate in Burgundy. And $15,254 isn’t such an outrageous price considering that the current available vintage, 2016, is listed for as much as $29,764 a bottle by one U.S. wine merchant — and that two bottles of the rare and reportedly excellent 1945 vintage sold for $558,000 and $496,000, respectively, at an auction in New York last year.

Source: Aapo Haapanen / Flickr

7. Henri Jayer Richebourg
> Average price per bottle: $15,786

The Burgundian winemaker Henri Jayer was a legend, and his wines were always considered among the region’s best. He never produced large quantities, and made his last vintage in 2001. (He died in 2006.) Remaining stocks of his wines are dwindling fast, hence their rarity.

Source: Courtesy of Babcock Winery

6. Sine Qua Non Gewürztraminer With No Name 1999
> Average price per bottle: $21,050

This is a dry gewürztraminer from California’s ultimate cult producer, made from grapes sourced from Santa Barbara County’s Babcock Vineyard. Sine Qua Non’s wines are made in very small quantities, and distributed mainly through the winery’s mailing list. This one was so rare that it wasn’t even offered to the whole list, but only to a few select customers.