1947 Cheval Blanc holds the world record for the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold, and high prices were paid once again for this “mythical” wine by a French buyer at Christie’s Paris.
A collector last week paid 131,600 euros ($181,150) for a case of the 1947 vintage, equivalent to $15,083 per bottle, or $2,513 per 125-ml glass. Packaged in their original wooden case, blackened by time, the bottles were recorked at the St-Émilion château during the 1990s to protect the wine from oxidation.
“The price may seem high but compared to the true value of this lot, it’s not over the top,” said Aubert Bogé of wine merchant Millésimes, who bought the case on behalf of a private individual.
“1947 was the vintage of the century for this château, it is mythical,” he added. “Bottles of 1947 are very difficult to find.”
In 2010, Christie’s Geneva sold a 6-liter bottle of the 1947 vintage for $304,375, a world record price fetched at auction, according to the Guinness World Records.
Nevertheless, the wine is technically far from perfect. While the conditions during the 1947 growing season were “absolutely magnificent,” according to the château, “fermentation was to prove difficult, and the wine was not perfectly dry and had rather high volatile acidity.”
The hot and dry conditions throughout the summer created an unusually rich, ripe wine, which is often compared to a vintage port.
Robert Parker has awarded the wine a perfect 100-point score. “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,” he explained. “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.”
Which begs the question: is this the most expensive faulty wine in the world?