CONGRATULATIONS! You just won the lottery. The Big One.
Once you’ve set up those foundations for the kids, bought a holiday home in Monaco and scattered a few million among the charities you support, it’s time to think of that fantasy wine cellar you’ve always dreamed about.
Now that you have the wherewithal, you can indulge our inner Dionysus without guilt or buyer’s remorse. The question is: what to buy when you can afford the most expensive wines on the planet?
You’re not going to load up on the usual plonk you drink during the week. You’re going to buy the very best and hang the expense.
So, what are the most expensive wines in the world?
No great secret here: they come from France and Germany. So, if you are able to earmark a million dollars for your cellar, here’s what to choose.
Beginning with Burgundy (where all sensible wine drinkers should start), the wines are:
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanée-Conti, the ne plus ultra of Grand Cru red Burgundy (those in the know call it DRC even if they can’t afford it). This is the world’s most expensive wine, with an average price of $21,682 per bottle. (I refrained from putting double exclamation marks at the end of that sentence because I’m a journalist and so blasé about these things.) Only some 450 cases of this wine are produced each vintage, so you’d better get your order in as the worldwide demand is stratospheric.
And, of course, you will want DRC’s equally expensive white Burgundy, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Montrachet Grand Cru, which clocks in at an average price of $7,961 a bottle. Again, supplies are limited, so get on the phone now to the importing agent.
Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru, from Chambolle-Musigny: Owned by Madame Lalou Bize-Leroy, who used to co-manage DRC. Average price is $13,529.
No cellar is complete without claret, which the British call red Bordeaux. You’ve probably heard of Château Pétrus, the leading wine from Pomerol. It’s yours for an average price of $3,877 a bottle.
But you may not have heard of Liber Pater, from a boutique winery in the Graves region of Bordeaux, produced by Loïc Pasquet from a blend of ancient Bordeaux’s long-forgotten varieties such as Castet, Mancin, Lauzet, Camaralet and Prunelard, with Sémillon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon. This very rare wine, named for the ancient Roman god of wine, fertility and freedom, will set you back about $6,965 a bottle.
Naturally, you will want some champagne in your cellar to toast your good fortune. Why not stock a case of Krug Clos d’Ambonnay, a blanc de noirs (that is, a champagne made exclusively from black grapes, in this case Pinot Noir) grown in a tiny walled vineyard of .68 hectares in the village of Ambonnay in northeastern France? Yours for $3,144 a bottle.
And you must have some pink champagne on hand for those frivolous moments. Dom Pérignon P3 Plénitude Brut Rosé sells for an average price of $2,154 per bottle. Dom Pérignon’s chef de cave, Richard Geoffroy, explains his concept of Plénitudes this way: “After around nine years, Dom Pérignon reaches its first Plénitude (window) and is called Dom Pérignon Vintage. The first Plénitude shows promise, completeness and harmony. Everything is in place. Some years later, the wine reaches its second Plénitude: this is Dom Pérignon P2. Stored deep in our cellar, the slow yeast maturation taking place in the bottle is inimitable and irreproducible. Finally, the third Plénitude, Dom Pérignon P3, is reached after a longer period of over twenty-five years.”
If dessert wines are to your taste, then look to Germany for Egon Müller Scharzhoberger Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese, from the Mosel wine region. This style of wine (called TBA for short) will outlive you; unless you drink it all yourself your heirs will. Average price per bottle is $15,274.
And if you can’t find the Egon Műller TBA (because the whole world wants it), look for Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese Goldkapsel, from a vineyard in the Mosel favoured by Napoleon. Compared to Egon Műller, this is something of a bargain at an average price of $5,131.
You’ll probably want to have California represented in your dream cellar, so sign up for Screaming Eagle, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. Price per bottle averages out at $4,338.
And you will want to wave the flag with some Canadian content, too. How about an Ontario icewine? Peller Estates Vidal Icewine 2012 50 Brix has the highest sugar level the company has ever produced. 1,528 bottles were produced, and a half-bottle sells for $500.
We mustn’t forget British Columbia. Mission Hill Family Estate Oculus is the winery’s flagship blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It carries a price tag of just $135 a bottle.
If you were to purchase a single bottle of each of the 12 wines above, it would cost you $84,690. And if you wanted a case of each it would set you back $1,016,280.
But you’ve just won the lottery, so go for it! One caveat: to import these wines will cost you another million in provincial duties and taxes. And then you have to build a cellar to protect your investment. But no big deal; you’re a multimillionaire! Enjoy.