5 of the Most Expensive Bottles of Wine Ever Sold

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When you think of the price of wine, you usually associate it with the age, right? Well, that’s only partly true, at least when it comes to some of the most expensive bottles ever sold. Here are 5 price tags that will pop your cork.

1. Chateau Lafite, 1787 - $156,450

Okay, so, yes, 1787 is ancient, especially considering this bottle of Bordeaux at this price was sold in 1985. But don’t forget, even the best Bordeaux only lasts about 50 years. So 200 years? Forget about it! Why the hefty price tag? Well, this particular bottle had the initial Th.J. etched into it. That’s right, Jefferson was a hard-core oenophile. During the time that he served as ambassador to France, he often traipsed out to Bordeaux and Burgundy looking for wine for his cellar back Stateside. His initials etched into two other bottles have also fetched pricy sums: a 1775 Sherry that fetched $43,500, and—ready for this?— the most expensive bottle of white wine ever sold, a 1787 Chateau d'Yquem for $56,588.

Price per glass: $26,075

2. Jeroboam of Château Mouton-Rothschild 1945, - $310,700

Okay, so now you’re confused, right? First I said the most expensive bottle ever was about $160K and now at number two I’ve listed one that cost almost twice that. Three sheets to the wind? Not at all. See, this bottle of red that sold in 2007 was a large bottle, not a standard-size. But take a look down below at the price per glass and you’ll see which is truly the more expensive of the two. Had this giant bottle been a standard 750 ml bottle, it would have only sold for $51,783. (By the way, 1945 is considered one of the very best vintages of the 20th century and Mouton-Rothschild one the world's greatest clarets. If you ever happen upon a bottle, don’t drink it! ?)

Price per glass: $8,631

3. Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, 1941 - $24,675

Sold in 2004, this Cabernet is regarded as the most expensive bottle of American wine ever sold. Inglenook is now known as Rubicon and owned by Francis Ford Coppola, who is said to keep one of them (empty) on top of his refrigerator. "It was one of the best I'd ever had," he has said about the wine. So how did it taste? "There is a signature violet and rose petal aroma that completes this amazingly well-preserved, robust wine that had just finished fermentation at the time of Pearl Harbor." Talk about seeing the glass half-full.

Price per glass: $4,113

4. Château Margaux 1787, - $225,000

There I go again. And this is a standard 750 ml bottle. So what’s it doing buried way down here? Well, this bottle actually resides in the Most Expensive Bottle of Wine Never Sold category. That’s right, I said never sold.

In 1989, the bottle collided with a tray at a wine dinner and New York wine merchant William Sokolin collected $225,000 from insurance! (He was seeking a whopping half a million for the bottle, which, they claimed, had also been owned by Thomas Jefferson.)

Price per glass: $37,500

5. Krug, 1928 - $21,200

The champagne record has been broken often in the last decade. In 2005, it was a bottle of Krug 1953 that went for $12,925. Then, that same year, a Methuselah (6 liter bottle) of Louis Roederer, Cristal Brut 1990, Millenium 2000 sold for $17,625. Finally, the Krug 1928 75cl bottle was sold at Acker Merrall & Condit’s first Hong Kong auction in 2009. Must be some sort of bubbly!

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November 8, 2010 - 4:30am
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