A New Record for the World’s Most Expensive Wine

Romanée-Conti bottles

A mixed lot of legendary Burgundy producer Domain de la Romanée-Conti wines, considered by many to be the best in the world, sold for 1.6 million dollars at a Sotheby’s auction held in Hong-Kong the 3rd of October. The Guardian reports that the lot, which comprised of “six bottles of each of the 19 vintages made from 1992 to 2010,” topped the last record by over $500,000: 50 cases of Château Mouton Rothschild that sold for $1.05 million.

Domaine Romanée-Conti’s wines are bottled to age decades, produced in small quantities and spoken of with reverence. (Ronald Dahl’s Uncle Oswald memorably raves, “Sense for me this perfume! Breathe this bouquet! Taste it! Drink it! But never try to describe it! Impossible to give an account of such a delicacy with words!”) This lot, at $14,212 a bottle or $1,700 a glass, represented an unprecedented opportunity for wine collectors to own “the world’s most desirable wine.”

It also represents a luxury that China’s political front has been trying to distance itself from. Xi Jinping’s austerity drive and anti-corruption campaigns have impacted the way that China purchases luxury goods, including wine. The Chinese consume more wine than the French, but many are drinking cheaper wines. It’s hardly a surprise that Romanée-Conti should hold its record, but given China’s recent disavowal of excess, the sale is charged with political meaning. [The Guardian] [Image: Flickr/Norman27]