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Ridiculously Priced Red Wine


Ridiculously Priced Red Wine – There are a whole bunch of reasons why a bottle of wine has a particular price tag.

Ridiculously Priced Red Wine – First, the basic costs – the grapes, the production materials and labor, the bottle itself, the cork, and the label – need to be covered.

Ridiculously Priced Red Wine – Winemakers also need to factor in administrative and marketing costs, and unless they sell directly to consumers, distributors and retailers will also take a cut. 

Ridiculously Priced Red Wine – There are also, shall we say, some less tangible reasons why a bottle might sell at a higher price.

Ridiculously Priced Red Wine – For instance, if a winemaker or winery has a reputation for greatness or a particular vintage is expected to be superb – the price tag can reflect the wine’s perceived value.

In Expensive Wine Expect:

Small production is possible
Extended time in French oak barrels
Hand harvested
Grapes from a specific region (e.g. “Napa Valley”)
Made with premium single-varietal grapes
Little or no residual sugar


Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2019

Bordeaux, France
98 Points

Château Mouton Rothschild is located in the commune of Pauillac, in the Medoc, 30 miles (50km) northwest of the city of Bordeaux.

The grand vin is among the most highly rated and priced wines in the world, and is generally regarded as the most exuberant and powerful of all Bordeaux.

It was famously added to the First Growths set out in the 1855 Classification in 1973.

Mouton Rothschild produces up to 350,000 bottles of wine each vintage, including the second wine Le Petit Mouton, which was established in 1993.

It is produced with grapes from selected younger vines, vinified in the same Mouton vats and aged in oak barrels.

Around a hectare of white grapes was planted in the early 1980s to make the very rare Aile d’Argent Bordeaux Blanc.

Mouton’s parent company, Baron Phillippe de Rothschild SA, also owns the Pauillac Châteaux d’Armailhac and Clerc Milon, Domaine de Baronarques in Limoux as well as various other wine brands.

In partnership, it also owns Almaviva in Chile and Opus One in California, which began as a collaboration with Robert Mondavi.

A different branch of the Rothschild family owns the adjacent Château Lafite-Rothschild property.


Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2016

Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
97 Points

Château Lafite Rothschild is a wine estate in the Pauillac region of the Médoc, producing one of the most sought-after and expensive red wines in the world.

Lafite Rothschild is known for its perfume, elegance, finesse and harmony, in contrast to the more powerful Latour and Mouton Rothschild.

Nevertheless, great vintages can age for 50 years or more.

The precise blend of grand vin can vary depending on the vintage. It often contains between 80-95 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, with Merlot making up much of the rest.

In the winery, each plot of grapes is kept seperate for the fermentation to preserve their terroir and allow for maximum control at blending.

The wine is aged for up to 20 months in new oak barrels.

The Lafite Rothschild vineyard covers around 112 hectares (277 acres) on sunny, well-drained sites made up of fine gravel and sand over limestone subsoil.

The vineyard is divided into three parts: the vines on the hillsides around the château provide the core material for the grand vin, while the adjacent Carruades plateau to the west is more responsible for the second wine that bears its name.


Masseto Toscana IGT

Tuscany, Italy
98 Points

Masseto is a famed single-vineyard, Super Tuscan wine label produced from a site in Bolgheri, on the Tuscan coast, planted entirely to Merlot.

It is one of the most famous Super Tuscan wines and is made by Tenuta dell’Ornellaia.

The wine is known for its aromatic complexity, opulent fruit and tannic structure, and is consistently regarded as one of the top wines in the world with auction prices to match. It is classified as IGT Toscana.

Masseto is a rare, single vineyard wine made entirely from Merlot grapes grown on the vineyard bearing the same name.

Located in the vaunted Bolgheri region of Tuscany, Masseto was first released in 1986 and quickly gained a reputation as one of the world’s most sought after and extremely allocated wines.

Where the Masseto vineyard now stands, there was once a coastal marsh centuries ago, over which clay deposits formed.

The clay was covered by thick deposits of gravel, sand and rock fragments.

This geologically diverse terroir is one reason Merlot thrives in the Masseto vineyard.

Another contributor is the combination of Mediterranean sun and a gentle wind that keeps the temperatures moderate during the summer.

Among the first people to realize the potential of the great terroir of the Masseto hill was the great Russian-American oenologist, André Tchelistcheff, who contributed to the conception of Masseto in the early 1980s.

His vision is shared by the vineyard and winemaking staff who pay the utmost attention to every detail in the vineyard and winery.

From the beginning of the harvest to the release of Masseto, three intense years pass, marked by respect of nature and time, constant attention to detail and careful winemaking decisions that best express and respect Masseto’s character.

The objective for winemaker Axel Heinz is to express both the unmistakable personality of Masseto and the specific character of the vintage.

Several vintages have been winning awards in competitions: the 2009 vintage was awarded Gold from the Mundus Vini, and the 2001 vintage was awarded Wine Spectator Top 100 #6 from the Wine Spectator Top 100.


Harlan Estate 2016

Bordeaux Red Blends
Napa Valley, USA
98 Points

Harlan Estate is a high-profile, critically-lauded wine producer based in the Oakville AVA of Napa Valley, California.

The vineyard is located in the hills above Martha’s Vineyard (Heitz Cellar) and To Kalon (Robert Mondavi), just north of Napa town itself.

Its Cabernet Sauvignon-based flagship wine is one of California’s most sought-after wines, regularly commanding prices exceeding $1000 per bottle.

Harlan Estate’s first commercial vintage was the 1990, which was released in 1996 with a then-expensive price tag of $65 a bottle.

Since then, the estate has cemented itself as a cult wine producer, with five vintages achieving 100-point scores from Robert Parker.


Domaine Jean Grivot Richebourg Grand Cru, 2019

Cote de Nuits, France
97 Points

Domaine Jean Grivot is an estate in the Côte d’Or of Burgundy known for its deep, aromatic Pinot Noir wines with bright red fruit characteristics.

The domaine only makes wines from its own vineyards. Grivot owns around 15 hectares (37 acres) of land across Vosne-Romanée and Nuits-Saint-Georges, including plots in EchézeauxRichebourg and a sizeable 1.9-ha (4.6-acre) parcel in the legendary Clos de Vougeot vineyard.

Everything is planted to Pinot Noir, except for a few rows of Chardonnay, which goes into the Bourgogne Blanc. 

In the winery, the bunches are 95 percent destalked and then undergo four to six days of cold maceration before fermentation in stainless steel.

Grivot’s wines are generally matured in oak barrels for 18 months with varying proportions of new oak: around 25 percent for village wines, up to 60 percent for premier cru and as much as 70 percent for grand crus.

Wines are bottled without fining or filtration in accordance with lunar movements and atmospheric pressure.


Chateau Rayas Chateaneuf-du-Pape Reserve 2017

Rhone, France
98 Points

Château Rayas is a leading producer in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation of the Rhône Valley.

It is one of the region’s most prestigious estates, and its wines fetch some of the highest prices in southern France.

Much about Rayas is unusual. Firstly, the estate’s red wine is made solely from Grenache, unlike most Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines that typicall contain SyrahMourvèdre and a range of other varieties.

Secondly, the estate’s 13 hectares (32 acres) of vineyard face north, and do not have any “galets roulés” – the rounded stones so closely associated with the appellation and often found littering vineyard sites in Châteauneuf.

Thirdly, the estate’s wines are matured in larger-format, “double-piéce” 450-liter barrels.

Château Rayas’ flagship Châteauneuf-du-Pape label is known for its sweet, pure fruit and silky texture, and has a reputation as one of the best wines in the appellation for longer-term aging.

The second label, Pignan, is also 100 percent Grenache, and tends to be gutsy and ripe and not quite so polished in style as the top cuvee.

The château’s white Châteauneuf-du-Pape is generally made from Grenache Blanc and Clairette in roughly equaly proportions.


Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa Valley, USA
99 Points

Screaming Eagle is California’s original cult wine and still lays claim to the state’s – if not the country’s – most highly prized label. Produced in tiny quantities from a small vineyard in Napa’s Oakville appellation, the Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine regularly sells for upwards of $3000 a bottle and is America’s most expensive regularly produced wine.

The vineyards were established by former real estate agent Jean Phillips in 1986, who subsequently set about selling fruit to local producers in Napa.

After a few years, the decision was made to set up a winery, and the first vintage of Screaming Eagle was released in 1992.

The highly unfluential US wine critic Robert Parker rated this first vintage at 99 points, and cult status was sealed.

Since then, the 1997 and 2007 vintages both achieved the coveted 100-point rating from the famous wine critic.

Screaming Eagle’s vineyard lies within the Oakville AVA in the central part of Napa Valley.

The unmarked vineyard lies on the eastern side of the AVA, below the vineyards of Dalla Valle and Oakville Ranch in the foothills further east, and just north of Paraduxx in Yountville.

As is typical for the AVA, the vineyard is planted mainly to Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and a small plot of Sauvignon Blanc.

In 2006, Screaming Eagle was famously sold to US billionaire Stanley Kroenke and winery investor Charles Banks for an undisclosed sum, rumored to be upwards of $30 million.

Kroenke now owns Screaming Eagle outright (Banks was convicted of defrauding former NBA star Tim Duncan in a federal court in 2017).


Petrus 2020

Pomerol, France
98 Points

Petrus is easily Pomerol’s most important wine, and is one of the most notable estates in Bordeaux.

The Merlot-based wine comes from an 11.4-hectare (28-acre) vineyard in the eastern part of the Pomerol appellation, and is known for being rich and powerful, with characteristics of chocolate, spice and black fruit.

Petrus is one of the world’s most collectable and expensive wines.

The original 7-hectare (17-acre) vineyard is located on a mound where the soil is almost all clay, unlike nearby properties where there is more gravel or sand in the soil.

The high clay content is particularly suitable for Merlot – a unique second layer of dense blue clay forces root systems to spread sideways.

This feature is often credited with giving Petrus its soft but abundant tannins.

The remaining vineyard was acquired from neighboring Château Gazin in 1969.

The vines at Petrus are allowed to reach an unusually old age by Bordeaux standards, and are only replanted after 70 years.

The grapes are painstakingly hand-harvested – one berry at a time in the afternoon, after the morning dew has evaporated to avoid any dilution.

Fermentation takes place in concrete vats, and vats are carefully scrutinized before assemblage. 

Oak usage has changed over the years – in the 1980s Petrus saw all new oak, but now the amount of new oak is closer to 50 percent.

After 18 to 20 months in barrel, the wine is bottled without filtration.

Records of Petrus date back to 1837 but the estate’s superstardom has come more recently, when the Moeuix family bought a half share in 1962.

Since then, it has become a fixture in cellars and on auction lists, and consistently fetches higher prices than many of the Bordeaux first growths.

What Is A Vineyard Worth Per Acre?

Ridiculously Priced Red Wine – – There is a range of $30,000 – $85,000 per acre for plantable land in Sonoma county. The premium areas, such as the Russian River Appellation, Sonoma Coast, and Green Valley Appellation, are the most expensive. In other areas, the price per acre is between $40,000 and $60,000.

Ridiculously Priced Red Wine – Bordeaux Region

Ridiculously Priced Red Wine – The market for wine-growing land around Bordeaux is extremely buoyant. Around 2% of the region’s 115,000 hectares of land (i.e. 2,500) is sold each year.

The choice is wide, and available to all types of buyers: from €26,000 per hectare in the Bordeaux appellation to more than €3.8 million per hectare for Pomerol.

Prices are rising in the prestigious appellations. At €1,974,960 per hectare, the price for Saint Émilion shot up 10.1% compared with 2017.

Pomerol, which continues to hold the record for the most expensive land in the Bordeaux region, appreciated by 5.4% y/y.

In Saint Estèphe, the price per hectare climbed by 6.9% from €795,600 to €850,150.

Margaux and Saint Julien are valued at more than €1.6 million per hectare. Land for Pauillac edged up 2.5% last year and is now worth €2,771,620 per hectare.

At the bottom end, appellations are gaining less momentum. Prices for Bordeaux picked up (+2.5% y/y) although appellations have lost more than 50% in value over the past 20 years.

Ridiculously Priced Red Wine – Italian Region

Ridiculously Priced Red Wine — From the quotations collected, Barolo is at the top, the “king” of Italian wines, even in the values of the land, now in the most prestigious territories of the world, such as Burgundy or Bordeaux.

In the Langhe Unesco heritage, one hectare the DOCG of the most important Piedmontese red wine counts 1.2 million euro per hectare, however, in the most important crus (in one of the very few denominations of Italy to have completed a real and own zonation) it reaches peaks of 2.5 million euros per hectare.

The same dynamics followed by Barbaresco, with lower prices, however, around 600,000 euros per hectare, estimates that, even in this case, rises a lot if you focus on cru.

On the other hand, it fluctuates from 400,000 to 500,000 euros per hectare in Bolgheri, one of the most performing areas of Italian wine, where there has been great growth in the markets and, at the same time, in terms of land values.

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