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World Record Price Raises DRC Ceiling

Romanée-Conti was the wine of the auction in Hong Kong
© Christie's | Romanée-Conti was the wine of the auction in Hong Kong
Continuing thirst for wines from Burgundy's most-wanted domaine.

Fierce bidding between Asian buyers pushed the price of a case of 1978 Romanée-Conti to an unprecedented high at a Christie's Hong Kong sale over the weekend. The 12-bottle case fetched a new world record of 3.67 million Hong Kong dollars or US$476,280.

The strength of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s monopole vineyard bottling was underlined further during the sale: six of the top 10 most expensive lots were Romanée-Conti. The results suggest that collectors are currently willing to pay more for 12 bottles of Romanée-Conti than 105 bottles of Château Latour or 61 magnums of Mouton Rothschild, making Romanée-Conti the new Lafite Rothschild.

The high prices paid for older vintages, including 1978 and 1985, further underline the estate's status as Burgundy's most-wanted domaine.

A closer look at DRC's performance

Wine-Searcher analyzed the aggregated performance of DRC’s six grand cru vineyards on the Côte de Nuits – Echézeaux, Grands Echézeaux, La Tâche, Richebourg, Romanée-Conti and Romanée-Saint-Vivant. The graph below shows that prices across the 10 most recent vintages have risen by almost 50 percent since 2008.

An aggregated price index of all six DRC grands crus. It uses the 10 most-recent vintages available
© Wine-Searcher | An aggregated price index of all six DRC grands crus. It uses the 10 most-recent vintages available

A closer inspection of DRC's individual vineyards show they are relatively volatile (see chart below). La Romanée-Conti, La Tâche and Grands Echézeaux have seen the highest increases in relative terms (up by more than 50 percent) since 2008. However, in dollar terms, Romanée-Conti outpaces its stablemates: the average price of a bottle of Romanée-Conti sits at more than $13,000*, while La Tâche retails for $2,840 and Grands Echézeaux for $1,060.

Richebourg has seen the lowest price increase in relative terms, rising by less than 25 percent in the five-year period. However, it is still the third most-expensive wine in the DRC stable, priced at $1,750 per bottle.

Performance of DRC wines by grands crus
© Wine-Searcher | Performance of DRC wines by grands crus

“Growth in DRC prices is evident in the early part of 2008, led by La Tâche, the domaine’s other monopole,” said Wine-Searcher data analyst Anthony Brown. “However, as the global financial crisis continued to make its impact felt, prices plunged and then remained largely static until 2011."

At that point, "a combination of factors, such as recovering investment markets and growing demand from China, once again resulted in a peak forming in 2012," he added. 

Our data shows that prices flattened in late 2012 and early 2013, suggesting that DRC might have plateaued. One factor was the introduction of government austerity measures in China that put the brakes on luxury wine purchases.

However, this weekend’s auction results suggest that Romanée-Conti may still have a head of steam.  

 * All prices were correct on November 25, 2013, and are subject to change.

Prices worldwide on Wine-Searcher (US$, ex-tax, per 750-ml bottle, all vintages):

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  • Comments

    Bob Henry wrote:
    14-Jan-2014 at 03:38:00 (GMT)

    Erratum. Norbert, In the pantheon of red Bordeaux vintages, 1967 and 1984 rank poorly. Better to drink them up or give them away as gifts. ~~ Bob (Los Angeles wine merchant)

  • Bob Henry wrote:
    14-Jan-2014 at 03:36:03 (GMT)

    Norbert, In the pantheon of red Bordeaux vintages, 1984 or 1987 rank poorly Better to drink them up or give them away as gifts. ~~ Bob (Los Angeles wine merchant)

  • Norbert Cardenas wrote:
    22-Dec-2013 at 23:16:49 (GMT)

    my e-mail is carquint@aol.com

  • Norbert Cardenas wrote:
    22-Dec-2013 at 23:15:11 (GMT)

    I have a 1967 bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild Appelation Pauillac contrlee and a 1984 bottle of Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste Saint Guirons Appelation Pauillac Controlee.Is there any collector value on any of these?

  • Wine-Searcher editor wrote:
    28-Nov-2013 at 04:17:07 (GMT)

    Dear Clinton, Sorry for the lack of clarity. I hope the below explanation helps: The first chart comprises the 10 most recent vintages of all DRC's wines. Until Jun 2013 the 2000 to 2009 vintages were included; after Jun 2013, it includes the 2001 to 2010 vintages. The second chart shows the performance of each of the six DRC grand cru vineyards in the Cote de Nuits over the period starting from Jan 2008 based on the aggregate price of recent vintages. Prices have been standardized so they had a value of 100 at the starting date. The price table is the average price of each grand cru vineyard across all vintages.

  • Clinton Hall wrote:
    28-Nov-2013 at 01:16:03 (GMT)

    Yes, what are we reading about here? Prices of the current release? All vintages on the market?

  • PKL2INC wrote:
    25-Nov-2013 at 20:03:33 (GMT)

    Absurd record pricing considering at $40K/bt this asset is valueless once popped! Btw when comparing value among wines it is usually helpful to include vintages lol!

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