I never really fully understood how fascinating wine was until I took a class on it. It is amazing all the different things that go into making a wine. I used to think it was as simple and getting some grapes and squishing them, but no wine making is indeed an art that has taken years and years to perfect, and I am sure that it still hasn’t reached perfection. It’s also amazing how different factors affect the price of a bottle.
What makes wine so expensive you ask? A number of factors one is where the wine has been made. After much experimentation in different regions experienced wine growers have found exactly where in the world the best grapes for wines can be grown. For instance Riesling grows very well in Germany near the Mosel River, Riesling grows well in California as well. Merlot grapes are probably best when grown in a consistently cool climate as opposed to a very hot and dry climate. Merlot does well in the Bordeaux region of France and is often used with other red grapes to make nice Bordeaux Blends. Another factor that determines the price of wine is how it is aged. Wine is often aged in wood barrels and the type of wood that is used to make those barrels varies in price. The more expensive the wood the more expensive the wine, different woods give off different characteristics to each wine. The top producing regions of wine are France, Italy, Northern California, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Chile, and Portugal.
Here are some of the world’s most expensive wines:
Screaming Eagle is a winery in Napa Valley’s Oakville AVA, it was founded in 1986 by Jean Philips and Tony Bowden founded the winery in 1986. They began with a plot of land that was less than 6o acres planted in vineyards that were mostly white grapes. Eventually, however, the whites were pulled out and Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot and Cabernet Franc were planted instead. At first the grapes were sold to other wineries, but eventually Philips began to experiment. She was helped by scientist wine maker Richard Peterson and his daughter Heidi Peterson Barrett. Heidi helped produce wine to give Screaming Eagle the reputation of making good wine.
It is a wine with a dark purple color and infused with flavors of blackcurrants and toasty oak. It is rich, sweet, and creamy, with fruity flavors. The wine sold at an auction in Napa for charity for about $80,000 a bottle, a case of six sold for $500,000. Screaming Eagle 1994 can be bought for about $4000.
Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1982 & Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1945
These wines like the Screaming Eagle also has blackcurrant taste but these have has a sort of licorice aroma with hints of gingerbread, caramel, mocha, and candied peel. It has other flavors of black fruit, spice, vanilla, cinnamon, pepper, cherry, and chocolate. At the beginning in 1982, Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1982 was selling for $390 a case; by 1996 it was about that for just a bottle. Average price now is about $2000. Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1945 sells for about $13,000.
Chateau Mouton Rothschild weren’t always considered great wines by the French standards. Napoleon was actually the first to instill a way in which wine was rated; it was rated by growths with “first growth” being the best. Chateau Mouton Rothschild was never elevated to “first growth” until the 1970s though because the vineyards were owned by and Englishman and not the French.
Romanee Conti, DRC 1990
Romanee Conti is one of the most expensive wines of France as well as the world. This one is rich and balanced and is based on the grape pinot noir. A set of eight bottles sold in 1990 for about $225,000, which is roughly about $28,000 a bottle.
The vineyards where the grapes where this wine is made from are located in Burgundy, this tiny portion was first cultivated by the Romans. Later it was taken over by the Benedictines who took it from the Bishops of Langres and Autun. Later it was purchase in the eighteenth century by the Prince de Conti, and then later sold to one of Napoleon’s bankers. What makes this wine expensive is also it’s rarity, only a few hundred cases were produced each year.
Chateau Lafite 1787
Chateau Lafite 1787 is the most expensive wine in the world. It sold for $160,000 at an auction. Sun is an important factor when it comes to growing good grapes. In fact years that are particularly sunny tend to produce better grapes than other years. 2000 and 2005 were years that were sunny, apparently 1787 was as well thus making this wine even more appealing.
Sun is clearly not the only factor that made this wine sell for over $100,000, but the history. This wine was originally bought by Thomas Jefferson. His initials are on the bottle. What is even more fascinating about the price of this bottle that sold in the 1980s is the fact that it was simply bought for a collection, not to drink. This wine is not to drink as it is too old, wine turns to vinegar after decades so this wine is long overdue.