The World’s Most Expensive Cognacs


1. Hennessy Beauté du Siécle Grand Champagne Cognac If you thought Hennessy’s Richard Hennessy was pushing the boat out at an average of $3543, then wait till you find the Beauty of the Century on a wine list – its average retail price is $111,046. It does come in a melted-aluminum chest, though, and the bottle is Baccarat crystal. The spirit is pretty rare too, with the youngest component being 47 years old.

2. Louis XIII de Rémy Martin Rare Cask Grande Champagne Cognac

3. Louis XIII de Rémy Martin Black Pearl Grande Champagne Cognac The Louis XIII range is expensive even at the entry level ($2840 average price), but with up to 1200 eaux-de-vie from Grande Champagne going into it, that’s to be expected. Add on Baccarat bottles and you start really pushing the boat out. The Rare Cask bottling was put together by previous cellarmaster Pierre Trichet and has an average price of $27,404, while the Black Pearl (again in a Baccarat decanter) will set you back $23,644 on average.

4. Hine 250th Anniversary Cognac With a history stretching back to 1763, it’s unsurprising that Hine has plenty of old stocks of Cognac in its vaults. This was released to mark the company’s 250th anniversary (obviously) and is a vintage 1953 Cognac and it’s in a specially designed decanter. All of which goes some way towards justifying the $15,994 average price tag.

5. A. Hardy Le Printemps Cognac

6. A. Hardy l’Ete Cognac

7. A. Hardy Privilege Caryota Cognac The Hardy name has been part of the Cognac tapestry since 1863, when an Englishman of that name relocated to the Charente. The first two of these Cognacs are part of a four seasons series, with the Printemps (Spring) bottling – in a Lalique decanter, naturally – hitting an average price of $15,830. The other bottling (Summer) is also clad in Lalique and costs $15,024. The Privilege bottling (also in Lalique) is made from pre-1014 eaux-de-vie and carries an average price of $13,327.

8. Pierre Chabanneau Fine Champagne Cognac Originally an independent producer and shipper of vintage Cognacs, Chabanneau later became part of the Camus Cognac house. These vintage bottlings date back to the 19th Century, explaining the $13,326 average price tag. At least they don’t come dressed up in a fancy bottle, though.

9. Martell Premier Voyage Cognac Released for the company’s 300th anniversary in 2015, the older eaux-de-vie in this bottling are from 1868, so it’s certainly got rarity value. It also has a swish decanter and a wooden stand. Only 300 were released, so that extra rarity boosts the price to $12,021.

10. Hennessy Timeless Cognac This one ticks all the boxes, really. It’s from a run of 2000 bottles and it’s a blend of the 11 best vintages of the 20th Century. Released in time for the Millennium frenzy, it – almost inevitably – arrives in a Baccarat crystal decanter.

An article from Wine Searcher

The World’s Most Expensive Whiskeys


1. The Macallan Lalique 57-Year-Old Single Malt, Speyside

2. The Macallan Lalique 62-Year-Old Single Malt, Speyside

3. The Macallan Lalique VI 65-year-Old Single Malt, Speyside

Macallan has marketed itself as “the Rolls-Royce of single malts” for decades and it’s kind of hard to argue. It’s been a superstar distillery since its foundation in 1824, and one of the few to have never closed in the intervening 193 years. It built its reputation on the quality of the spirit flowing from its small stills, and the use of Oloroso Sherry casks for maturation. They don’t just use Sherry casks anymore, but the spirit in these bottlings, presented in specially designed Lalique decanters, were and they have set a new standard for (relatively) readily available whiskey prices at $54,848, $53,077 and $44,793 respectively.

4. The Dalmore 50-Year-Old Single Malt, Highlands Dalmore is based in Alness, overlooking the Cromarty Firth in Scotland’s northern Highlands and is one of the most respected distillers in the country, providing the base for the popular Whyte & Mackay blend for almost 150 years. The average price has more than doubled in the past year to $44,226, but it does come with its own decanter.

5. The Balvenie 50-Year-Old Single Malt, Speyside The sister distillery to the more famous Glenfiddich, Balvenie refuses to take second place when it comes to price. The vast majority of Balvenie has been gobbled up by blends down the years, before being launched as a single malt in 1973. This expression has become gradually more available over the past five years, but it has also climbed to an average price of $35,526.

6. Gordon & MacPhail Generations Mortlach 75-Year-Old Single Malt, Speyside An independent bottling of one of Scotland’s great distilleries – it was where Glenfiddich founder William Grant learned the whiskey trade – bottled by one of Scotland’s oldest independent bottlers. Probably the oldest whiskey available on the open market, this comes in a crystal teardrop decanter and will set you back an average of $32,200.

7. Johnnie Walker 1805 The Celebration Blue Label Scotch At last, a blend – and what a blend. A cask strength bottling, made from 45-70-year-old malts, this was originally intended as a special bottling produced for people the company deemed had made an extraordinary contribution to modern life, which explains its $30,689 average price tag.

8. Glenfiddich Rare Collection 50-Year-Old Single Malt, Speyside It wouldn’t be a whiskey list without some mention of Glenfiddich, the pioneers of the single malt category. This is a ridiculously well-presented package, with the bottle decorated with Scottish silver and housed in a leather and silk case; with only 500 bottles released, it’s surprising value at $27,644.

9. The Glenlivet Winchester Collection 50-Year-Old Single Malt, Speyside The Glenlivet was the first licensed distillery in Scotland and this 1966 vintage bottling is a nice tribute to the trailblazers. It is named for the Glenlivet’s master distiller and limited to 100 bottles, hence the $25,515 average price.

10. The Macallan Fine & Rare Vintage Single Malt, Speyside The fourth Macallan entry is available in a variety of vintages going right back to 1937. Curiously, even though it is the most widely available bottle on the list, it has continued to shoot up in price, rising from an average of $6884 in 2012 to $27,784 today.

An article from Wine Searcher by Don Kavanagh

French Wine Exports on the Up

export1-10006220.jpgFrance has been the big winner among wine producing countries in the first quarter, while the US suffered a major drop in overseas sales.
The figures released in the Rabobank Wine Quarterly survey showed healthy growth for French wine exports, which increased by 5.9 percent in volume and a whopping 14.7 percent in value, giving an average price-per-liter rise of 8 percent. Champagne did well with 7.3 percent volume and 12.1 percent value increases, while Bordeaux continued its strong growth with a 10.7 percent rise in volume and a staggering 26.4 percent leap in value.
The US and Chinese markets saw solid growth for French wines, even exports to the embattled UK market rose by 2.9 percent in volume and 13.8 percent in value.
US wine producers weren’t so lucky, with a big drop in sales to the UK leading to a steep 15 percent decline in volume and an 8 percent fall in value. Bulk sales also fell as own-label brands contracted in the softening economic conditions in the UK; an almost 3 percent rise in inflation there has pushed down earnings and weakened the outlook for consumption.
First quarter exports of Italian wine lifted slightly by volume (2 percent) and 5.4 percent in value against the last quarter of 2016, with sparkling wine the star performer. Still wine exports to major markets the US, Germany and Switzerland contracted slightly in volume, but sparkling wines jumped 10.8 percent in volume to all markets and 15.1 percent in value. Canada and China were growth markets, as was the UK, although the average price per liter to the UK fell by 3.5 percent.
Spain had a mixed performance, with DO/DOCa wines jumping 16.2 percent in volume and an impressive 47 percent in value, while sparkling wine saw double-digit drops in per-liter average prices. Spain’s main export market was still the US, with 4.3 percent volume and 6.5 percent value increases.
While US exports might have softened, imports rose in the first four months of the year, with a 2 percent volume lift and a 6 percent increase in value compared to the same period last year. Imports from Italy were up 3 percent by volume and 2 percent in value, led by Prosecco’s seemingly unstoppable surge. Portugal was the big winner, however, with a 21 percent increase in volumes shipped to the US and a 26 percent rise in value. Australia grew value off lower volumes, with a 13 percent jump in value despite a 1.6 percent drop in volume.
The report also said that wine inventories were likely to come under some pressure later this year, as a predicted shortfall in the Northern Hemisphere harvest impacts global supply. While it pointed to sufficient stocks of wine to meet current demand, the report warned of reduced volumes coming from major producers France, northern Italy and Spain, due to adverse weather.

An article from Wine Searcher

The World’s Most Expensive Nebbiolos


The list of the top 10 most expensive Nebbiolos.

1. Giacomo Conterno Monfortino Barolo Riserva Not just the most expensive Nebbiolo in the world, but the most expensive Italian wine in the world, and quite some distance ahead of second-placed Masseto. The wine is only made in exceptional years and even then 7000 bottles is about the limit, so tiny production makes for expensive wines.

2. Gaja Sori San Lorenzo Langhe-Barbaresco A single-vineyard cuvée with an occasional seasoning of Barbera in the mix, this is top-of-the-line wine, with a price tag of $386, almost three times the average for a Langhe Nebbiolo. The critics love it, and it has an overall average score of 95.

3. Gaja Sori Tildin Langhe-Barbaresco A second single-vineyard wine from the famous producer, this can be labeled either Langhe or Barbaresco, depending on the vintage. Again, it’s well liked by the critics (average score is 94) and the $372 average price has remained relatively stable (within a $30 band) for the past five years.

4. Gaja Costa Russi Langhe-Barbaresco The third leg of Gaja’s single-vineyard triple crown, this is – marginally – the least expensive option at $352. This has also been stable over the past five years, although supplies appear to be growing, with offers growing by 50 percent over the same period.

5. Falletto di Bruno Giacosa Asili Roserva Barbaresco It’s a sign of how quickly prices can change that this wine was sitting in second place when I started this article and it is now in fifth. Still, it’s a 94-point wine, on average, with some vintages doing really well – the 2007 was rated 97 by the Wine Advocate. It has an average price tag of $337.

6. Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo A prestigious producer closely associated with the Monprivato Barolo “cru” and a hit with both critics and consumers. Incredibly long-lived wines – the 1967 vintage has a recommended drinking window open until 2019, according to Robert Parker. This wine has actually fallen dramatically in price in the past 12 months, from an average of $425 to today’s $320.

7. Falletto di Bruno Giacosa Le Rocche del Felletto Barolo Bruno Giacosa is a famous figure in Barolo, having started his career buying grapes at the age of 15. This wine is made from grapes owned by the estate, rather than from contract growers. It’s a hit with the critics (95-point average) and a bottle will set you back an average of $282.

8. Elio Altare Unoperuna Barolo One of the more modern Barolo producers, the estate’s history is all rather dramatic, with father and son falling out, son being disinherited after chopping up his father’s tanks with a chainsaw, and finally buying the winery after his father’s death. The wine is more serene, however, with a 92-point critic average and an average price of $251.

9. Bartolo Mascarello Barolo One of Barolo’s great names, the Mascarello estate has been making great wine since 1918. The standard offering is made from grapes grown in five hectares across the classic Barolo vineyards of Cannubi, Rue, San Lorenzo and Rocche. It has an average price of $250, which has doubled in the past five years.

10. Bartolo Mascarello Artist Label Barolo The name refers to a series of hand-painted labels by various artists, and the wine inside is as good as you’d expect from such a prestigious producer. It’s not cheap (average price $241) and it has doubled since 2012, but it is down from its May 2015 peak, when it hit an average of $321.

An article from Wine Searcher by Don Kavanagh

Burgundy’s Most Expensive Red Wines


The list of the top 10 most expensive Pinot Noirs.

1. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti Grand Cru The daddy of them all and the most expensive generally available wine in the world, with an average price of $15,037 a bottle. That figure has shot up by $1691 in the past years, a jump of 12.67 percent. With only 6000 bottles a year, scarcity ensures the price remains sky high.

2. Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru At rather less than half the price of DRC’s flagship wine, this might appear to be quite a bargain at an average price of $7089, but it has increased in price dramatically in the past year, rising by $1626 – a whopping 29.85 percent.

3. Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Musigny Grand Cru Another of Burgundy’s great names, Roumier’s wines are always sought after. This cuvée comes in at $6197, an increase of $948, or 18 percent on last year.

4. Domaine Leroy Chambertin Grand Cru A seriously high-scoring wine (97-point average) with low production volume, and yet it almost seems reasonable at $4128. That’s up by a relatively modest 11 percent, or $409 in monetary terms. However, the average price has almost doubled in the past five years.

5. Domaine Leroy Richebourg Grand Cru Leroy’s third wine on the list has appreciated by $532 (17.75 percent) in the past year, hiking its average price to $3536. Like its stablemates, its average price has doubled over five years.

6. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tache This monopole wine has been a favorite among collectors for decades and interest has quickened in the past year, with an additional $535 added to the price tag, a rise of 18.8 percent – the steepest increase in the past five years.

7. Domaine d’Auvenay Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru The domaine is owned outright by Domaine Leroy’s Lalou Bize-Leroy, and subject to increasing interest from collectors. That interest has seen prices rise steadily, with an $853 price rise in the past year. That’s a 34 percent rise, the biggest jump of any wine on the list, and continues a pattern that has seen the price triple in five years.

8. Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair La Romanée Grand Cru A relatively new house (founded in 2000, but the family roots go much deeper), and one that is quickly making an impression. The wine has seen a modest average price rise of $196 (6.5 percent) ion the past year, but that’s after rapid acceleration that almost doubled the price between 2012 and 2016.

9. Domaine d’Auvenay Les Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru Made from a small portion of a 15-hectare vineyard, this low-production wine has increased by $322 in the past 12 months, or 12.4 percent. That is the latest leg in a dramatic increase since 2014 that has led to a doubling in price.

10. Domaine Faiveley Musigny Grand Cru Another of the great Burgundy domains, Faiveley’s broad range of wines has introduced many a neophyte to Burgundy. The Musigny increased its price by a relatively modest $200 last year, settling at an average of $2907. That’s in keeping with a steady, if unspectacular rise in prices across the past five years.

An article from Wine Searcher by Don Kavanagh