The Reason for Rose

November 12th, 2014 Comment

The first question one might ask is, “Why does anybody need a reason for wine?” Wine, whatever variety you prefer, is a reason unto itself. Having said this, there are those who might feel some wines need justification, namely roseʹ. This wasn’t always the case, and it’s certainly not the case in southern France, now or at any time. Roseʹ became the pink stepchild of the wine world in the 1970s, when white Zinfandel came on to the scene. Zinfandel, a too-sweet white wine, did its best to replace roseʹ as the summertime drink of choice.

The Reason for Rose’Just what is a Roseʹ Wine?

Contrary to popular belief, roseʹ is not a mixture of red and white wines; it is its own genre. Roseʹ is made from many of the same grapes used to produce red and white wines, but the processing is different. The juice of all grapes is clear, or ‘white’; the skins of the grape contain the color. Red wines are produced by leaving the juice in contact with the skins for long periods of time; whites are produced by removing the skins from the juice immediately, and rosesʹ are produced by leaving the juice in contact with the skins for short periods; the longer the contact, the darker the roseʹ. Rosesʹ range in color from pale pink up to copper, but never as dark as a red. Rosesʹ can be dry, and those coming from Europe usually are, but they can also be semi-sweet; rosesʹ produced outside of Europe may fall into this category.


Why Would You Want a Roseʹ?

Roseʹ is usually touted as a summer drink; its lighter flavor pairs well with heat and summertime foods, which are not as heavy as meals in the dead of winter. Roseʹ is equally at home at your backyard barbecue or the elegant summer dinner party you throw for the boss. However, this is not to say you pack your roseʹ away with the flip-flops and bathing suits; there are fall, winter and spring meals where roseʹ fits right in. Most meals in the colder seasons call for the force of a prime red wine, or a white, if the entree is not a red meat, but you can serve a lighter fare where a wine that complements, rather than overwhelms, is preferred.

Age Matters

Unlike red wines and women, roseʹ doesn’t age well. A roseʹ three years old is most likely past its prime, so don’t look at it as an investment wine, or one you can enjoy drinking down the road. It’s actually difficult to find rosesʹ over three, for this very reason: fresh roseʹ is the best one to drink. A too-old roseʹ loses the acidity and freshness of its flavors and becomes bland.

Price Matters, Too

Perhaps because of its undeserved reputation, or the inveterate snobbishness in the wine community, roseʹ is a good buy. You can find rosesʹ from southern France for $16 to $25 a bottle, and that’s a darn good price for an import. You can find quality rosesʹ for $15 a bottle or less on the domestic market, and for a neophyte wine drinker, it’s a good way to get started without breaking the budget.
Are there lousy rosesʹ out there? Of course. Are there lousy reds and whites? You betcha. The genre of the wine is not a guaranty of good or great quality, nor is it a guaranty of bad quality either. Ask for help when you visit a wine shop; they’re usually quite happy to assist you any way they can, and asking for a good roseʹ for around $15.00 won’t get you thrown out of the shop. It will, however, get you a good wine.

How to Decide on Wine Storage

November 7th, 2014 Comment

If you’re like most Americans, you don’t know squat about wine. You know you like it, but you tend to just buy it when you’re ready to drink it. Storing wine, whether for the short or long term, never enters your thought processes. You may, however, find yourself getting more interested in keeping wine on hand. It beats running out to the package store or the grocery every time the urge for a glass hits you. You may also be thinking about wine as an investment strategy, and this means holding wine in storage, sometimes for years.

 

Wine StorageHow Should You Store Wine?

Unless you’re fortunate enough to own a house built in the 1800s or early 1900s, with its attendant basement or wine cellar already there, you’re going to have to build your own storage environment to house your wine collection. Where did our ancestors store wine? In deep, dark caves or in deep, dark wine cellars. There are good reasons for this: wine hates light, heat, and motion. While storing wine on top of your refrigerator is convenient, it’s the absolute worst thing you can do to a poor, innocent bottle of wine. The mantra for wine storage is cool, dark, still, and sideways. The reasoning behind this is as follows:

Cool

Wine hates heat; anything above 70° Fahrenheit wreaks havoc on the wine. 55° Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature, but don’t freak out if it varies a degree or two either way. Humidity is also important; the proper humidity keeps the cork from drying out and letting oxygen seep into the bottle. Oxygen will oxidize a wine, the same way it will a peeled apple. A brown apple is unattractive, but edible; an oxidized wine is not drinkable. It won’t hurt you, unless it’s truly spoiled, but it won’t taste good at all.

Dark

Wine hates sunlight like a vampire, and pretty much for the same reason: light, particularly UV light, prematurely ages wine. Whites are more susceptible than reds, but reds fall victim to UV light as well. Ever wonder why wine is sold in colored bottles? The colored glass acts like sunglasses, and filters the UV light out.

Still

Why would wine care if you shook the bottle? Two reasons: too much shaking can prematurely age it, and not in a good way, and if the wine is a red, sediment gets disturbed from the bottom and distributed around the bottle. The result is a glass of grit instead of a glass of wine. So don’t store your wine where vibrations, good or bad, abound.

Sideways

There are two good reasons for storing wine on its side: first, storing the bottle this way keeps the cork in contact with the wine and this keeps the cork from drying out and shrinking. A dry cork allows oxygen in, and this is not a good thing. Second, storing wine horizontally saves space, letting you keep more bottles in a smaller space.

Given that most of us don’t have a wine cellar already built into our house, where should you store your wine? If you have a basement, and dampness is not an issue, putting wine racks in a cool, dark corner fits the bill nicely. If a basement is not an option, use a cool, dark closet. If the closet is too hot, you can get a cooling unit designed for wine to cool things off.

What Kind of Storage Do You Need?

The type of storage you need is determined by how much wine you’re storing, and for how long you’re planning on holding it. If you’re only planning on keeping it for a few months, a wine cooler or a wine rack in your basement is fine. If you’re planning on keeping it for years, you’ve moved into the professional storage arena, and you need to do some research. You will need the conditions described above, and they will need to be consistent over the long haul. You will need undisturbed space for storage racks, proper lighting, and climate control.  We at Vintage Cellars are wine cellar specialists, and will be happy to walk you through step-by-step, how to build a wine cellar and choose a proper cooling unit.  We build wine cellars from start to finish, from functional to elaborate, so let us know what your needs are and we’ll be happy to assist you!  Also note that if you’re looking for one, one of the best cooling units on the market today is the Wine Guardian.

Buying Wine for Investment

November 2nd, 2014 Comment

Wine InvestmentWhen you think of investing, wine is not the first thought that comes to mind. Most of us think of investments as stocks and bonds and not much else. There are alternative investments to the ones we typically put our money in; these are precious metals (gold, silver, copper), fine art (paintings, sculptures), and rare coins. Wine falls into the alternate investment category, and if you do it right and don’t need an immediate return on your money, can be a good way to hedge your bets in uncertain economic times, such as the ones we’re having today.

How Do You Invest in Wine?

There are two ways to invest in wine: purchase and resell the wine yourself, or participate in a wine investment fund. The fund pools the money from its members and handles the purchase, storage, and resale of the wine for the investors. The investors receive returns based on the amount of money they invest in the fund.

If you have the time, money, and storage space, being your own investor is not a bad idea; you choose the wines you want to invest in, and you decide when to sell. You will be the sole recipient of the return. You will also be the sole bearer of the costs – insurance and storage – while you hold the wine, waiting for it to mature and the price to rise. If you can afford it, and you’re a budding oenophile, it may be a really good way to invest your time and money.

If you have limited funds, but like the idea of investing in wine, participating in a wine investment fund is the way to go. Someone else makes the decisions and handles the issues, and you take the returns. As long as you do your due diligence and choose a sound fund, this is the way for you to invest in the wine market.

What are Investment Grade Wines?

There are most likely tens of thousands of vintners producing wine globally today. Only 250 of these vintners produce investment grade wine, and ninety percent of the investment grade premium wines come from the Bordeaux region of France. More vintners are making it into the investment grade globally these days, but the numbers still work out with France holding ninety percent of the premium wines, and the other ten percent is vintage port. While wine has been around for centuries, the buying and selling of wine as an investment really came into being in the 1970s. It is still difficult to be a personal wine investor in the United States today, as most states have strict regulations on the buying and selling of wine, but there are ways to legally sell wine in a private sale, even in those states with the strictest laws. This is one area where a wine investment fund shines over being your own wine investor: the fund knows how to make sales legally.

Is wine a good investment? Over the long haul, the numbers bear it out as a good way to invest money in an alternative way. Even if the bottom fell out of the market, if you were your own investor you could at least drink the wine; if the bottom falls out of Wall Street, all you have left are bad memories.

Do You Chill Wine Infographic

October 30th, 2014 Comment

Do You Chill Wine Info Infographic

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Best Wines for Fall Gifts

October 28th, 2014 Comment

September is almost over, and fall has arrived. The leaves are turning, the days are getting shorter, and the temperatures are beginning to cool down. Soon, the holidays will be here; have you thought about what gifts you’ll be giving this season? It’s always a problem, albeit a fun one, to choose gifts for friends and family they’ll appreciate and enjoy. Then there are those gifts for people you don’t know all that well, but feel obligated to give a gift – your husband’s boss, a healthcare professional or caregiver, or a teacher. Have you considered giving these folks a bottle of wine?

Best WineA Little Wine History

Wine is a venerable beverage. One of the earliest known traces of wine was found in modern-day Georgia (the country, not the state) around 6000 BC. This is two thousand years before the wheel was invented in Mesopotamia, and five thousand years before the Trojan War. The earliest wines were made from wild grapes and berries; grapes weren’t domesticated until the time of the first dynasty in Egypt – around 3200 BC. Wine has been prized for pretty much its entire history; in ancient Persia, wine was considered a divine gift. Wine grew up with the world; by the Middle Ages, wine was served at every meal, both red and white. Granted, it was watered down a good bit – after all, one couldn’t spend every day drunk as a skunk. It was also not aged during this period, as consumption threatened to outstrip production. Aging of wine began at a later period. Wine’s history continues to the present day, where it is a global industry now, not just a French one. The major wines of the world still originate mostly in France, but wines from the New World are gaining in acceptance.

Giving Wine as a Gift

Before giving wine as a gift, you need to know if the recipient likes the idea. Giving a bottle of Dom Perignon to a teetotaler is not the best idea in the world. Gourmet cheese or chocolates would be better suggestions in this case. If your intended recipient does drink wine, knowing their level of expertise in the subject is useful; if you give a gift of rare vintage to a newbie, it’s not going to be appreciated as much as it would be to a genuine oenophile. Conversely, giving the oenophile a bottle picked up at the grocery store will fly like the proverbial lead balloon. So, first know if the intended recipient drinks wine, and then learning about their level of expertise is a good start. Finding a good wine shop with an expert sommelier on staff will help prevent gaffes.

Know Your Price Range

Before choosing a bottle as a gift, you need to know how much you can afford to spend. A gift for a true oenophile can cost a bundle, so let the person helping you choose at the wine shop know your range before he starts making suggestions. A hostess gift can be purchased at the grocery store – some stores have really good wine sections – or at a package store. A gift for ̀someone you want to impress, you should look at a store dedicated to wine.

What Type of Wine to Choose

The genre of wine you select depends on the recipient, you, the time of year, do you intend for them to use it immediately, or did you buy it for their cellar. Reds are investment wines; they get better with age, and better translate to more valuable. Reds can be bought for the recipient’s cellar, if they have one; any good Bordeaux works here. Whites are also good for long-term storage; be sure to know if your recipient likes whites, and if they store them. Roses are not intended for aging; your recipient may like one anyway, but if you’re looking for a cellar item, skip these wines. Where your recipient lives is also a factor; in some large wine producing countries, such as Argentina, wine is considered too common for a gift. However, other wine-producing countries, such as South Africa and Portugal, consider their wines as superior, and would not appreciate a gift of French wine, for example.
Wine is always a good gift idea, but you need to know a few things about your intended recipient before purchase. Wrap it in pretty paper, or put it in a gift basket with other wine-associated items, such as cheese, crackers, and chocolate. You can find a wine to suit both your pocketbook and your intended recipient, and this, as Martha would say, is a good thing.

In The Mood For Wine? Chill Out

October 23rd, 2014 Comment

Chill OutThere is nothing more decadent than enjoying a glass of wine, paired perfectly with a scrumptious meal. Wine has an indescribable way of extricating the most subtle flavors from the cuisine you’re enjoying and from the spirits themselves. Traditionally, white wine is served chilled, whereas red wine is presented at room temperature. Red wines don’t typically fall under the umbrella of refreshing, chilled beverages. But did you know that some reds actually benefit from being chilled? Some reds, such as Pinot Noir, Boujulais, and some Zinfandel’s taste wonderful and more robust when sipped chilled.

Years ago, wine cellars and natural room temperature is what determined the febricity of wine. White wines were served at cellar temperature, or perhaps chilled in an ice bucket just prior to drinking. Reds were served as is, without tampering with their temperature. However, today castles and wine cellars are few are far between. Consequently, white are served at refrigeration climate, which is generally in the 40s. On average, a centrally heated apartment or home is likely to be in the mid-70s range, so most red wines end up being too warm and white are too cool.

Why not enjoy both reds and whites chilled? Chilling both wines can bring out luxurious flavors and enhance your wine drinking experience. But careful, you don’t want to get them too cold, or it can kill the flavor. Follow these steps for chilling your wines for the ultimate in wine satisfaction!

Reds

Red WineFull-bodies reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Bordeaux exhibit their flavors well between 60° and 65 °, however, if you serve it a bit colder, the acidic and tannic flavors surface even more, releasing all kinds of hidden flavors. Store your red wine at room temperature, but simply lay it in the fridge for 15 minutes before serving to enhance the flavors. More tannic reds like Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon should be a bit warmer, but with Pinot Noir and Merlot, go ahead and chill them down an extra 15° to 20°. Don’t fret if the wine gets chillier than you intended because it will warm slightly as you hold it in your hand. If you’re serving chilled red wine at a party or dinner, just lay it on top of an ice bucket in between drinking, but not plunged into the ice. This will keep it relatively cold, without dropping its temperature too far.

Whites

White WineWhite wines are a smorgasbord of flavors when they are served chilled. They pair harmoniously with lighter fare, such as chicken, turkey and fish. The best way to chill white wine is to fill a bucket ¾ full of ice mixed with water. Simply bury the bottle into the ice, base first, and let it sit for 20 minutes. Whites can also be chilled in the refrigerator but it will take a solid three hours to get cool enough. Never put a bottle of wine into the freezer thinking that you’ll speed up the chilling process. The freezer will alter the flavor of the wine, essentially ruining it. Place the bottle back into the ice bucket in between serving to maintain its temperature.

Whether you’re in the mood for light and fruity white, or robust and bold red, you can enjoy the opulence and richness of either wine, chilled to perfection! View our info-graphic on chilling both red & white wines and visit us as www.vintagecellars.com, contact us or call 800-876-8789 for personal service.vintagecellar.com

Wine Mixed Drinks We Secretly Love

September 21st, 2014 Comment

We wine lovers can be a bit, well, snobbish! Or perhaps a politer way of describing us is, discerning. Not for us the $4.99 jug of alcoholic grape juice stacked up at the end of the supermarket aisle. No, we have refined palettes, educated tastes and we wouldn’t dream of sullying our favorite indulgence.

Actually, that’s not true, is it? ‘Fess up, we all have a secret passion for mixed drinks made with wine. And there is absolutely nothing at all wrong with that; the fact that we enjoy a wine based cocktail is not in conflict with our appreciation of wine in its pure form.

Here are some of our favorite wine based mixed drinks. If you haven’t tried these, go ahead, indulge!

Wine Mixed Drinks

The Spritzer

A spritzer is a mixture of white wine and something sparkling – generally soda water. The trick is to find an inexpensive white wine, preferably one with plenty of fruit, and to serve the whole thing very cold. Half and half is the right proportion, and top off with a slice of lemon or lime. Spritzers are perfect for very hot weather or for parties. They are thirst quenching, have a summery feel, and yet allow the flavor of the wine to be enjoyed. Alternatives to soda water are ginger ale and lemonade, but, most wine lovers feel this is a flavor too far.


The Bellini

This classic cocktail was invented in Harry’s Bar in Venice, a favorite haunt of Ernest Hemingway. It combines champagne and peach, and is just a perfectly delicious concoction.

You take a third of a glass of peach purée or juice, preferably fresh made from perfectly ripe Italian peaches, and two thirds of a glass of champagne. Add the champagne to the peach, and stir with a swizzle stick. Garnish with a slice of peach on the edge of the glass.

They can also be made with raspberries or apricots, but be sure the fruit you choose is fresh and full of flavor.

Bellinis are rather decadent, and are an excellent choice for a wedding where some of the guests are non-drinkers. Everyone gets to drink something lovely to toast the bride and groom, the virgin version uses sparkling apple juice instead of champagne.

Mulled Wine

This time our wine is red, and served warm. One of my most cherished memories is of the annual carol services at a thousand plus year old church in rural England. Unheated and candlelit, the entire village packed into the ancient church, where they read and sung the traditional nine lessons and carols. All the while, at the back of the church, the wine was being mulled and the mince pies were being warmed. The perfume of wine and spice and pastry was indescribably tantalizing, and at the end of the service, all gathered to make merry and drink the delicious brew.

Here is an English recipe:

  • 2 bottles of robust red wine – not your finest, but something good – a meaty Cabernet Sauvignon perhaps.
  • 2 large oranges sliced
  • 2 large lemons sliced
  • 1 large orange stuck with about 20 whole cloves
  •  (Tip – wash the citrus fruit in hot water before using to get rid of the wax coating – or buy organic)
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons of cherry brandy or other fruity liqueur

Put all the ingredients into a non-reactive saucepan, bring to just below boiling and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Don’t let it boil, as this will evaporate the alcohol. Serve in glass mugs or heavy wine glasses, with Christmas cake, mince pies or gingerbread. It’s Christmas in a glass!

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The Importance of the Correct Serving Temperature for Wine

September 13th, 2014 Comment

There is a tendency among those who know no better to serve every kind of drink at as close to sub-zero temperatures as possible. What do you say to your dear friend who, when you arrive at their house for dinner, takes your proffered bottle of fine claret and declares, “Don”t worry, we’ll put that straight in the fridge, it’ll be nice and cold by dinner time!”

Temperature for WineHeathens!

Yes, there are many heathens among us. We just have to remember, that when it’s red wine, you can at least allow it to stand in the glass until it has reached an acceptable temperature. And very few people don’t realize that white wine should be served cold.

So, Why All the Fuss?

When we taste, we taste four main elements – sweet, salty, sour and acid. (Eastern cultures add one more, savory.) To enjoy all the subtleties of flavor, we need our olfactory organ, in other words our nose. Wine doesn’t release its full array of flavor unless it is served at the temperature at which it releases those fragrances and aromas best; it’s that simple.

The Temperature for Reds

In general terms, we talk about reds being served at room temperature. But which room? A Scottish croft heated by a dim peat fire on a snowy February night? Or a veranda on a summer’s day in tropical South America, where at twelve noon, the natives swoon, and no further work is done?

It’s not worth being obsessive, although when you are enjoying fine wine in private, a little obsession is acceptable. When serving red wine in company, or drinking it in a restaurant or bar, the wine should be served just a few degrees lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow it to warm very slightly in the glass, enjoy the aromas that develop, and then start to sip when it has warmed up a couple of degrees. Sweeter red can be a little warmer, sparkling reds a little cooler, roses a little cooler still.

The Temperature for Whites

Warm white wine tastes flat and dull, quite horrible. Whites are nicest served at around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Much colder, and they will have no discernible bouquet, and you may as well drink water or fruit juice. So, keep white wines in the refrigerator for several hours before you plan to serve them, and if they have got too cold, allow the temperature to rise a little by taking them out before you intend to serve them.

Ice in Wine

If you live in a hot climate, and are enjoying some of fresco wine drinking, then it is by no means foolish to lob a few ice cubes into your wine to keep it at a drinkable temperature. We are of course talking about quaffing wines here, not fine wines. Plastic ice cubes can be used if you are concerned about diluting your wine, but, as you are likely to be drinking at a fairly steady pace when it’s warm, you might actually appreciate a little water in your wine, as is traditional in all wine producing countries on informal and family occasions.

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The History of American Wine Making

September 4th, 2014 Comment

The history of American wine making goes back to the very first settlers, who arrived to find that there were wild grapes growing which could make wine of a sort. In fact, it’s possible that indigenous people were making wine long before this, but unfortunately we don’t have any reliable records to prove that.

The wine that was made from wild grapes was not pleasant to European taste, and experiments began to grow the more familiar vitis vinifera, the first plants of which were established as early as 1629 near San Antonio, New Mexico.

American Wine Making

Until the 19th century wine production continued at a low level, but then came the discovery of a native grape, Catawba, which made a very decent hock like wine. Vineyards of Catawba were established in Ohio, and a wine was produced which was said to rival Champagne. Unfortunately, these vineyards were wiped out by a fungus, but wine making continued in other areas, particular around Lake Erie and in New York State.

One of the driving forces of wine making was the need for communion wine, but the influx of Europeans from wine drinking countries meant that there was also a ready market for good home produced wine for the table.

The Californian industry was established in the mid eighteenth century, the need for communion wine being again the driving force. The local wild grapes made poor wine, so root stock was imported from South America, the Criolla grape. This made acceptable but relatively moderate quality wine.

An immigrant from Bordeaux, France, Jean-Louis Vignes, decided to try and improve the quality of wine produced, and imported vine stock from his home country. By the mid nineteenth century his vineyards were producing a thousand barrels of decent wine a year.

Because of its more suitable climate and soil, Californian production moved to Sonoma Valley, where General Mariano Vallejo became an important producer. The real boost to quality wine production in California came when Agoston Haraszthy, considered to be the father of modern wine making in California, purchased dry sloping land and advocated a no irrigation technique which produced grapes with excellent flavor and concentrated sugars. Eventually he was tasked by the US government to bring quality vine root stock from Europe to develop the American wine product, and so began the rise in quality of American wines that we so enjoy today.

California became the center of the wine industry by the late nineteenth century, but due to natural disasters such as insect plagues, the San Francisco earthquake (which on its own destroyed thirty million gallons of wine) the Great Depression and of course, prohibition, the industry fell on seriously hard times. It survived by producing communion wine, which was not prohibited, and producing wine in small “home-made” quantities, which was also legal during Prohibition.

When the wine making industry was re-established after Prohibition, American tastes had coarsened, and the demand was for sweet “dago” wines. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the entire industry took a turn for the better, with the establishment of American Viticultural Areas. With the encouragement of the University of California, Davis, the Californian wine industry in particular began to improve its vineyards, introduce better varieties, and work on producing the world beating wines which we enjoy today.

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The Most Expensive Bottle of Wine Ever Sold

August 25th, 2014 Comment

Interestingly, arguments rage as to what was actually the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold. You need to take account of inflation. There are private sales which are just rumored, of fabulous, near mythical wines which never reach the open market. Then of course, we need to make a distinction for size, and between red and white, and perhaps, discount those wines which have interesting associations, such as having been owned by a famous person, where the association is more important than the wine.

Here then are some of the contenders:

The Penfolds Ampoule

Penfolds AmpouleThis is a limited edition of 12 handmade bottles offered by Australian store LCBO. The wine contained within the handmade bottle, which is itself contained in a meter high wooded case made from rare Australian hardwood, is a 2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon; a delightful wine indeed, but worth $168,000? Three bottles have so far been sold, and it seems unlikely that the wine will ever be poured from these extravagantly crafted, hermetically sealed bottles, looking for all the world like a plumb bob, made from gray glass. An ordinary bottle of this vintage sells at around $1000 – look like a bargain, doesn’t it?

Chateau Lafitte 1787

A bottle of Chateau Lafitte 1787 was sold in 1985 for $156,450, which considering that the bottle life of red wine cannot be more than fifty years at most, is a lot of money to pay for vinegar.

But wait! This bottle came from the cellar of one Thomas Jefferson, a dedicated wine lover who learned about good wines whilst doing as stint as ambassador to France. And this bottle has the magic initial Th. J etched into it, giving it provenance.

Jeroboam of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1945

This bottle of what is considered to be one of the world’s finest clarets sold for a massive $310,700. So why isn’t it the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold? Because it’s not a bottle, it’s the much larger jeroboam, so in fact, this is pretty cheap, working out at approximately $8,630 a glass, which according to those who have had the privilege of tasting this vintage, is worth every penny.

Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1941

Another bargain at a mere $24, 675, this is the most expensive American made wine ever sold. Yes, wine making was alive and kicking in 1941, and this is considered one of the finest wines ever made in the US. According to Francis Ford Coppola, who now owns Inglenook, the wine had flavors of violets and rose petals; he was lucky enough, and of course, wealthy enough, to be able to actually open a bottle and drink it.

Krug 1928

At $21,200, this is the most expensive bottle of champagne ever sold. And perhaps it’s surprising that champagne doesn’t top the list of most expensive wines. We are used to thinking of champagne as a luxury wine, but, it doesn’t seem to evoke the depths of passion that the clarets and Burgundies inspire. And I think we’ve all been to clubs that seem to sell champagne at roughly that price!

For an entertaining account of the Thomas Jefferson bottle, check out
“The Billionaire’s Vinegar” by Benjamin Wallace.

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