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World’s Most Expensive Wine a Non-Story?

August 12, 2015 – Over the last week, a story has gone around the globe about the world’s most expensive wine documented by UK web site Wine-Searcher.com. We first spotted it in Time but decided we’d do a little research of our own.

The story of Burgundy’s 1985 Richebourg Grand Cru costing $15,000 a bottle is interesting for many reasons, one being that it one-upped Domaine de la Romanée Conti (DRC for those in the know) considered the most expensive wine in the world, which only costs a mere $13,000 a bottle. The Wine-Searcher information was described as “their annual ranking”. Not true. Wine-Searcher says their database reveals that Richebourg has been consistently more expensive than DRC every month since May 2011 and their database of the 50 most expensive wines in the world is updated monthly.

Furthermore, it wasn’t based on just the 1985 vintage, which actually commands $20,000, but averaged across all vintages. Plus it is no longer made. Winemaker Henri Jayer’s last vintage was 2001 and he died in 2006.

DRC often has the highest price at auction and there are particular vintages that command stratospheric prices. Wine-Searcher’s database is the average price for a standard 750 ml bottle based on information from about 55,000 wine merchants worldwide offering over 7,000,000 wines.

Wine-Searcher editors gently chided the various news services that inflated the story saying it must have been a slow news day and modestly proclaimed it a non-story, Considering the information is available and undated monthly, they are correct.

French wines, with Burgundy dominating Bordeaux, dominated the Top 50 list. We wondered if any U.S. wines made the list and we are proud to report that Napa Valley’s Screaming Eagle comes in at number 14. The average price is $2,884 in the U.S. with a maximum price listed of $12,905 for a single bottle.

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