Most Expensive Wine From Bordeaux

A picture of the chateau cheval-blanc

The World’s Most Expensive Wine Sale

Have you ever asked yourself, what’s the most expensive bottle of wine in the world? Technically the 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet fetched $500,000 at a wine auction in 2000. However many people suggest that number should be reduced considering it was for charity, and as a result the price became inflated.

Spending £20 on a bottle of wine to most people is an exploration into the frivolous unknown.  It’s a special bottle for a special occasion. However, what would you say to someone spending £192,000 on a 6 litre bottle? Most would say that the person in question had more money than sense.

A private collector purchased a bottle of 1947 Cheval-Blanc during an auction at Christies in Geneva for exactly that. The most anyone has paid for a bottle of Bordeaux. However, few people realise that the 1947 vintage should have been horrible to the taste, not that anyone will be drinking the 1947 anytime soon. Only a few thousand cases were ever produced, and most bottles were consumed immediately following the release.

A Flawed Bottle

The extreme heat that battered Bordeaux in the summer of ‘47 should have created a wine packed full of flaws. However on tasting, the wine has constantly been rated as one of the finest wines ever to be produced. Renowned wine writer Robert Parker awarded the wine a perfect 100 points (we’d hope so considering the price tag) and had this to say:

“What can I say about this mammoth wine that is more like port than dry red table wine? The 1947 Cheval Blanc exhibits such a thick texture it could double as motor oil. The huge nose of fruitcake, chocolate, leather, coffee, and Asian spices is mind-boggling. The unctuous texture and richness of sweet fruit are amazing. Consider the fact that this wine is, technically, appallingly deficient in acidity and excessively high in alcohol. Moreover, its volatile acidity levels would be considered intolerable by modern day oenologists. Yet, how can they explain that after 47 years the wine is still remarkably fresh, phenomenally concentrated, and profoundly complex?”

Cheval Blanc & Robert Parker

I once heard a rather entertaining story in relation to Cheval Blanc and Robert Parker. Apparently, the Cheval Blanc manager Jacques Hebrard was upset with Robert Parkers rating of the 1981 vintage, and asked that it be re-tasted. When Parker arrived at the cellar, he was attacked by the vineyard dog, while Hebrard did very little to help. Upon asking for a bandage for his leg, he was given a copy of his poor rating for the 81 vintage. After a second tasting, the rating miraculously improved… good choice!

Niles Crane Knows

Although not related to the 1947 vintage, Cheval-Blanc has always been an easy popular culture reference. In Frasier, Niles perfectly explained the importance of a good bottle of 81, although we’re not sure Daphne would agree:

“What kind of weak-willed man allows a woman to come between him and a 1981 Cheval Blanc?”


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