How Much Would You Pay?

How much would you pay for a magnum of 2011 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Romanée-Conti?

I will come back to that question in a bit.

Nearly every day, I am inundated with wine offers. Much of the onslaught is self-inflicted as I peruse websites like Last Bottle Wines (and their sister sites First Bottle and Last Bubbles), Wines Til Sold Out, and myriad others. I also receive several dozen emails a day from random sites and stores offering me “incredible” discounts off of “top-rated” wines.

This morning was like every other as I spent the better part of 20 minutes deleting the emails that had accumulated while I tried to get at least six hours of sleep (don’t ask how that went). Most of the time, I just delete the emails without ever opening them since a) I already have too much wine; and b) I only have one spouse who has suggested that “we” need to curb our wine-buying practices a bit (there might be a little wiggle room in “a bit” but I have not yet pushed the edge of that envelope).

This morning, one email caught my eye with this in the message line: “Our prestigious wine (Romanée, Yamazaki, …) and much more.” I did not immediately recognize the sender, but that one word, Romanée, piqued my interest.

For those who don’t know, “Romanée” is short for “Romanée-Conti” which is perhaps the most famous vineyard in the world. The vineyard, which is also its own appellation, is located in the Burgundian town of Vosne-Romanée and is solely owned and operated by the Société Civile du Domaine de la Romanée Conti (which the cool cats often refer to as simply “DRC”). Wines produced by the Domaine are some of the most sought-after (and therefore most expensive) in the world, with per-bottle prices well north of $1,000 upon release.

The Domaine is rather unassuming and no longer has a sign to indicate what it is. When you’re of its stature, you don’t need to tell anybody who you are.

The Domaine de la Romanée-Conti produces wine from many of Burgundy’s greatest vineyards including La Tâche (which is also solely owned by DRC), Richebourg, Romanée-St.-Vivant, Grands Échezeaux, Échezeaux, and just for grins, Le Montrachet, which is the only white wine produced by DRC (and therefore one of the most expensive whites in the world). The smallest, most coveted, most expensive, and many argue best of all the vineyards is the Domaine’s namesake: Romanée-Conti.

I have never been fortunate enough to taste any Romanée-Conti, but I have tried some of the other “lesser” wines from DRC, including Richebourg and Échezeaux and they were indeed amazing wines. When I learned, however, that each of those wines could have been sold at auction in the $2,000-$5,000 range per bottle, I immediately felt guilty and more than a bit spoiled.

Later, after contemplating what had happened, I also felt ashamed. Yeah, I love wine, I think I have established that. I particularly love good wine, which often (but not always) comes with a hefty price tag. So this morning, after opening that email, I searched my history on Cellar Tracker (the world’s top online cellar management tool–if you are not using it, we might not be able to be friends) and discovered that the most I have ever paid for a bottle of wine was $220.74 when I was in grad school (what I was thinking spending that much, albeit for a vintage Krug rosé, while a struggling student is a topic for my therapist).

DRC is not just on a different level, it is in a different stratosphere. I am trying to understand it, really I am. I understand how capitalism works (or at least is supposed to work) and there are people out there willing to pay $2,000-$5,000 for a bottle of wine but really?

I don’t get it.

I love to taste and drink wine, which I often do during dinner. The thought of opening a bottle of wine that is several times greater than most monthly mortgage payments with my Korean tacos is a bit absurd.

But maybe that’s just me.

Oh, that single magnum (the equivalent of two normal 750ml bottles) of 2011 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Romanée-Conti? It is on sale. The price was just reduced to 62,380€ (about $67,200) plus shipping.

Wanna go halvsies?


About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
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2 Responses to How Much Would You Pay?

  1. wineismylife says:

    Gotcha beat. $675.00 for a magnum of 2020 Chimère Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Most for a 750ml was $300.00 for a 1988 Salon Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut.


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