France’s famous Burgundy region has a double reason to celebrate, with a rare vintage from the area emerging as the world’s most expensive wine just after the region was named a UN world heritage site.
Richebourg Grand Cru sells at a whopping $15,195 a bottle, according to the Wine-Searcher website list of the 50 dearest vintages.
The website’s table of the priciest wines includes 40 Burgundies, with just five non-French wines making the cut — one Californian and four from Germany.
The news comes just after Burgundy’s vineyards were crowned in July with the world heritage distinction by the United Nation’s cultural body.
UNESCO recognised the uniqueness of the vineyards of the Cote de Nuits and the Cote de Beaune south of the city Dijon which produce some of the finest red wines in the world made from pinot noir and chardonnay grapes.
The Richebourg Grand Cru was a Cote de Nuits created by Henri Jayer, a winemaker widely considered a visionary in the business, who died in 2006 aged 84.
Jayer was opposed to using chemicals in the winemaking process and believed in small-scale production, turning out only about 3,500 bottles per year.
In fact it is another Henri Jayer wine, his Cros-Parantoux Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru, which comes from a tiny 2.5 acre, that grabs third place on the list at $8,832 a bottle, according to Wine-Searcher, which updated its table earlier this month.
The website, founded in London in 1999, releases periodic updates to its 50 most expensive wines list, which is based on prices from nearly 55,000 wine merchants and producers around the world.
The analysis that produced the most recent update concerned more than seven million wines of all vintages, taking an average price per bottle.
Romanee-Conti, Burgundy’s most famous fine wine, came in second on the list at $13,314 and the vineyard has a total of six bottles on the table.
Other “grand crus” from Burgundy, such as Vosne-Romanee and Montrachet are also among the most expensive.
France’s Bordeaux wine region, for all its prestige, has only two wines on the list, both Pomerols: the Petrus and a Le Pin.
Two German winemakers, Egon Mueller and Joh. Jos. Pruem, each have two wines on the list, including Mueller’s Scharzhofberger Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese demi-sec selling for $6,630 a bottle in fourth place.
The only other non-French wine is Californian Stanley Kroenke’s Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, coming in at 14th place with a $2,884 price tag.
Burgundy’s inclusion on UNESCO’s vaunted list may bring further economic benefits for the region, because as well as being a powerful tourist draw, world heritage sites are eligible for financial assistance towards preservation.