The world’s most precious elixir, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, has confirmed its leading position in the 2017 rankings published on March 22 by auction website iDealwine. A bottle of the 2000 vintage of “DRC” was sold for 17,146 euros (S$27,804). Cases of the ultra-famous Burgundy estate also topped the charts with prices reaching 33,562 euros (S$54,425).
Extraordinary auction prices for Domaine de la Romanée Conti wines are hardly surprising in view of the Burgundy estate’s track record. At a sale in Cannes last July, a case containing an assortment of 12 bottles of Romanée-Conti from 1996 was sold for a record 36,225 euros (S$58,743). Under the hammer of Baghera/wines a month earlier, a 1999 jeroboam of DRC fetched 76,300 (S$123,730) euros in Geneva.
Above and beyond Romanée-Conti’s hegemony, do ultra expensive wines have a typical profile? Well, according to the iDealwine rankings, they will virtually always be red. And in 46% of cases, they will be from the Bordeaux region, both in terms of value (47%) and volume (46%). The Gironde wine region is represented by such big-hitters as Petrus, Château d’Yquem, Château Lafite Rothschild, and Château Haut Brion.
However, this dominant position may be on the wane given that Burgundy wines have progressed from 21% to 25% in terms of volume. The Rhone Valley is now the third-placed region for the most expensive wines, overtaking Champagne (2%). According to iDealwine, which cites the example of the very successful Clos Rougeard, the Loire Valley region is the one that is likely to make the most headway in the near future.
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The average price for wine sold at auction was 119 euros. Prices ranged from ten euros to as high as 17,146 euros, for the Romanée-Conti. Wine is increasingly a speculative investment, and this has led to higher auction prices, which have risen by 20% and generated total sales of 13.2 million euros for iDealwine.
Buyers on iDealwine in 2017 were from 57 different countries. France accounted for the largest volume (63.1%), followed by other European nations that are increasingly present at wine auctions: notably Britain, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark and Italy. The number of Asian buyers has also increased by 28%.
(Related: Why Bordeaux dominates the wine market)