When you buy a bottle of wine worth half a million dollars, what do you do with it? Drink it? Save it for a special occasion? Or just be satisfied with bragging rights? Sotheby’s recently auctioned off a bottle of 1945 Romanee-Conti wine for a record-breaking US$558,000.
The bottle is just one of 600 that were produced before the vines were removed and replanted. Another bottle of the same wine and vintage sold for $496,000.
“The best bottles are so concentrated and exotic, with seemingly everlasting power – a wine at peace with itself,” Sotheby’s said of the wine, reported Newsweek.
The auction house described the vintage as “rare and wonderful” even though its labels were “heavily damp-stained, scuffed, torn, and partially missing.”
The prestigious Romanee-Conti is largely considered to be the finest Burgundy wine on the market. Each year, the domain in the Cote de Nuits makes on average between 5,000 and 6,000 bottles.
The 1945 bottle was part of Robert Drouhin’s personal collection. He directed wine producer Maison Joseph Drouhin, one of the most distinguished producers in Burgundy, between 1957 and 2003, according to Newsweek.
The initial top-end estimated value of the 1945 Romanee-Conti was $32,000. The final price—17 times bigger than the estimate—was quite a surprise. It was also significantly more than the previous record holder for a standard bottle—a Chateau Lafite Rothschild, which sold in 2010 in Hong Kong for $233,000.
In fact, the Romanee-Conti also broke the record for bottles of all sizes. In 2007, a three-litre bottle of 1945 Mouton-Rothschild sold for $310,000 in New York.
While the Romanee-Conti was pricey, it didn’t compare to a bottle of The Macallan 1926 scotch whisky, which was auctioned off in Edinburgh for a record price of 848,800 pounds, or just over US$1.1 million, earlier this month.
According to a press release: “Macallan commissioned two world-famous Pop Artists – Valerio Adami and Peter Blake – to design labels for a very limited edition of 24 bottles –12 of the Adami and 12 of the Blake labels. The bottle is elegantly presented in a specially commissioned cabinet or Tantalus, based on the traditional ‘Brass and Glass’ distillery spirit safe. It was bought by the vendor directly from the Macallan distillery for an undisclosed sum in 1994 and was part of a wider collection from the same owner offered in the sale.
“Although 12 bottles of The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 were produced, it is not known how many of them still exist. One is said to have been destroyed in an earthquake in Japan in 2011, and it is believed that at least one of them has been opened and drunk.”