Most Expensive White Wine

1811 Chateau d'Yquem


The froth in the rare wine auction market shows no signs of abating as the BBC reports yet another record price for a single bottle has been attained. In this case, the wine in question, a single bottle of 1811 Chateau d'Yquem, has broken the record for most expensive bottle of white wine not bought at auction, though the wine is in fact a white dessert wine. The buyer, a French collector by the name of Christian Vanneque, paid 75,000 British pounds ($123,000) for the bottle, which he plans to put on display at his restaurant SIP Sunset Grill in Bali, Indonesia. The bottle came with documents from the Chateau verifying the wine's authenticity, a real concern in today's fine wine market, a market that is facing a growing counterfeiting problem.

1811 has special significance in the wine world. It was a great vintage for Bordeaux, but is also known as the year of the comet. That year, a comet formally known as C/1811 F1 was visible for a record-setting 260 days. This spectacle, along with great harvest all over Europe, created a great marketing opportunity as many producers bottle their wines as comet wines or "Cuvee de Comete," a strong marketing term, indeed, in those more superstitious and mystical times.

This new Guinness-confirmed World Record price smashes the old record, which not surprisingly was also for a bottle of Chateau d'Yquem, though an example from 1787 that fetched $60,000 or 31,402 British pounds at the time. The most money ever spent on a bottle of wine continues to be a bottle of 1869 Chateau Lafite sold at auction in Hong Kong last year. That rare gem cost its anonymous bidder $233,973!

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: Mark Angelillo
    Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    2 5,354

    Amazing story! Thanks.

    Jul 26, 2011 at 12:14 PM

  • re: "...growing counterfeit problem" . Has it been growing steadily for 30 years now? I thought that there were a complement of techniques (DNA + radioactive decay) that largely whipped this issue, at least for the more expensive bottles.

    Would love to learn more about this stuff!

    Jul 26, 2011 at 1:57 PM

  • Snooth User: Jesse Chemtob
    Hand of Snooth
    546378 178

    Shouldn't have drank mine...

    Jul 26, 2011 at 5:28 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 235,953


    The problem is bigger than ever, just too much money in it. There are counterfeit older bottles by the busload and current release wines as well. Many older wines are simply relabelled, who's to tell that 1945 Mouton isn't actually 1945 Baronne Phillipe, and if it's shot, as so many older bottles are, who's gonna really think much more about it. Testing processes are expensive, not infallible, and require that you get to the wine, though I do believe someone has said they have a process that can be applied to unopened bottles of wine. I'll start gathering some info for a future article and see what I can put together!

    Jul 26, 2011 at 10:40 PM

  • Snooth User: Chris Carpita
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    33093 5,545

    It would be captivating to see a breakdown of all the techniques used to detect counterfeits. Lots of intrigue and whatnot. Thanks Greg!

    Jul 27, 2011 at 8:28 PM

  • Snooth User: Stephen Harvey
    Hand of Snooth
    220753 1,287

    Parker rates it as a 100 point wine

    I guess most of us wine peasants can only dream what it tastes like!

    Jul 31, 2011 at 7:51 PM

  • Snooth User: tabednar
    Hand of Snooth
    94930 2,467

    I bet it was corked...I would have sent it back...

    Interesting side article on the Thomas Jefferson Lafitte wine...

    Sep 22, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Add a Comment

Search Articles

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals

Snooth Media Network