Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Screaming Eagle. Petrus. Château Margaux. We asked wine professionals across the country to share the most incredible (and incredibly pricey) wines they’ve ever tasted, and their answers are unsurprisingly enviable. Here are the most expensive wines 15 sommeliers have had the pleasure of knowing.
“Thanks to the generosity of patrons, I’ve tasted both Screaming Eagle and Château Petrus 2015. One of my favorite aspects of the wine community is the culture of sharing — we’re all committed to enhancing the palates of those around us!” — Paulina Schermanski, Sommelier, Mabel Gray, Hazel Park, Mich.
“I have been privileged to have been included in a tasting of the famed Egon Muller’s Schartzhofberg Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese 1988! At over $1,000 a bottle, that has been etched into my memory for life. This extremely rare and ethereal wine tasted like marzipan, dried citrus fruits, and quince wafting out of the glass. The length on this wine felt like an eternity.” — Jeremy Halker, Sommelier, DBGB DC, Washington
“The most expensive wine I’ve tasted was about six years ago, when I first worked the floor as a sommelier. A 1989 Château Cheval Blanc from Saint Emilion — a Premier Grand Cru Classé wine from Bordeaux’s Right Bank. The vintage is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc and was one of the most amazing wines I’ve ever tasted. We sold it for about $1,300 at City Winery in NYC; today it runs for upwards of $3,000.” — Jamel Freeman, Wine Director, Bellemore, Chicago
“While working at Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, Fla., circa 1997, I had the pleasure to serve a bottle of 1953 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche. The buyer was a regular guest of Bern’s and he was gracious enough to share a taste of the wine with me. It was an ethereal experience to say the least. While I don’t remember the exact price, I believe it was somewhere between $2,500 and $3,500. The opportunity to serve and taste it was priceless.” — Larry O’Brien, Master Sommelier of Kendall-Jackson and Jackson Family Wines
“The most expensive wine I tried was a 1990 Château Margaux. I tried it many years ago when I was about 16 after my mom got married. It was delicious from what I remember. I think the bottle now goes for about $1,200.” — Alvaro Umano, Beverage Director, O-Ku DC, Washington
“This is definitely one of the toughest questions. I have had the amazing opportunity of tasting a great deal of monumental wines in my career. One that really stood out was the 1970 Château Palmer, a third-growth Bordeaux, at approximately $400 per bottle.” — Alisandro Serna, Wine Director, Boka, Chicago
“Château Lafite Rothschild Red. The price can vary depending on the year, and can range from $40 to 50 per bottle to upwards of thousands. I was fortunate enough to have some that was left over from an Open Bar Hospitality event of ours, and it truly was amazing.” — George Duval, Beverage Consultant, Open Bar Hospitality, DeKalb Market Hall, Brooklyn
“1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Around $25,000 at auction. Probably the most iconic Burgundy producer from their best site from an epic vintage with almost 30 years on it.” — John Filkins, Beverage Director, Officina & Masseria, Washington
“The most expensive wine I have ever had the pleasure of tasting was a 1983 Château Mouton Rothschild. The restaurant I was working at had it on the list for just north of $2,000 and the guest that ordered it was kind enough to share it with me. It was also the first time I had ever had a highly regarded wine from Bordeaux with considerable age and it immediately changed my opinion of the wines from that region. It was so captivating how the age had made the wine so delicate but at the same time it maintained the power of its youth.” — Jake Yestingsmeier, Director of Food & Beverage, Monarch Prime & Bar, Omaha
“I had the privilege to taste with Piero Mastroberardino a Taurasi from the personal collection of the Mastroberardino’s Cellar. The opportunity to taste the Taurasi Aglianico from 1934 was an unreal experience because the condition of the Taurasi 1934 was ethereal. It is a wine that endures history and delivers the journey of the land. The bottle is not for sale and is priceless.” — Pietro Caldarelli, Beverage Director/Certified Sommelier at Feroce Ristorante , Feroce Caffé, and Bar Feroce, New York
“The most expensive bottle that I have ever tasted was a Domaine de la Romanée Conti ‘La Romanée’ 2010. The bottle was priced at $10,000.00.” — Bill Burkhart, Sommelier at The Grill Room, New Orleans
“Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia 1985 (750ml). The last bottles we bought at auction were almost $1,900 each. I’ve been fortunate enough to taste three of these, and they were each fascinating in their own right. — Anncherie Saludo, Beverage Director, L’Artusi, New York
“1986 D.R.C La Tâche from jeroboam at a Sotheby’s pre-auction tasting. That was quite special.” — Alex Zink, Beverage Director and Partner, The Dabney, Washington
“Whenever I have the opportunity to drink an expensive glass of wine, I like to sit down and actually enjoy it. The most expensive bottles of wine I ever drank were Opus One 1996 (currently valued between $400-$550) and Château Rayas 2003 (currently valued between $550-$750). My grandfather bought the Opus One while traveling through Napa, and even after 20 years, the wine still had an intense richness to it. The Château Rayas was at its peak drinkability at after 15 years — it was elegant yet gave off multiple layers of spice and fruit.” — Karen Lin, General Manager and Beverage Director, Bar Moga and SakaMai, New York
“1959 Château Margaux from a magnum. I was told it was worth close to $15,000 on the wine list; I wasn’t buying.” — David Metz, Wine Director and Sommelier, The Jefferson, Washington