Extremely costly wines are, unsurprisingly, often also very rare but it would be a mistake to conflate rarity and value. Bordeaux’s ‘First Growths’ command eye-wateringly high prices and yet are actually produced in relatively prolific volumes of 15-20,000 cases (of 12 bottles) per annum. Conversely, some wines are so rare that they are practically impossible to value. What price do you put on a wine that is effectively unique?
Here are ten wines that have found their way in to my cave personelle that I can’t find available anywhere else in world and would therefore be exceedingly hard to replace.
1. Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1969: Chante Perdrix
The label isn’t great but the level isn’t bad and ’69 was a decent Rhône vintage. Maybe one to broach during our 50th anniversary celebrations.
2. Saint Nicolas de Bourgeuil 1971: Claude Ammeux
A good grower, vintage and condition all bode well for this cool climate Cabernet Franc.
3. ‘Le Cigare Volant’ 1987: Bonny Doon Vineyard
Made by Randall Graham the first of the Rhône Rangers. I love this Châteauneuf-inspired wine for the label alone.
4. Sylvaner 2006: Charles Schléret
‘Quite remarkable’ and ‘Masses of fun’ according to Jancis Robinson. I don’t think there is another bottle out there so I’m open to offers.
5. Spätburgunder 2007: Jürgen Hofmann
German Pinot Noir is frightfully modisch at the moment but this beauty has over a decade’s bottle age. Find me another.
6. Côtes du Rhône 1978: Pascal Frères
There’s a strong argument for aging lesser wines in better vintages but 41 years for a négociant Côtes-du-Rhône is pushing it.
7. Savennières ‘Demi-Sec’ 1983: Château d’Epiré
Not the best vintage but Chenin does love bottle age especially in this neck-of-the-woods. An each way bet.
8. Domaine de Trévallon 1979
This is iconic and it’s a magnum. Why oh why didn’t I buy more when it was so cheap?
9. Jasper Hill ‘Friends Shiraz’ 1987
A raging bushfire took out the Laughtons ripening Syrah crop back in 1987. Happily, neighbouring wine makers rallied round and donated fruit so they had something to vinify. This is it!
10. Vin Doux de Condrieu 1994: Georges Vernay
Condrieu has become so celebrated for its dry wines that it is often overlooked that it was once considered an important enclave of sweet wine production. Here is a rare example from the late great Georges Vernay.