Auction prices have calmed since we saw record after record in 2022. The market corrected itself in 2023 with interest from wine enthusiasts remaining strong. Prices returned to a more reasonable level, while staying above those from 2021. As we all eagerly await the analysis found in the iDealwine Barometer, we’ve had a quick look at the top auction results from 2023.
Prices settle after the huge increases seen in 2022
The first thing you notice when looking at the rankings of the highest-priced wines from 2023 is that the market calmed, and prices became more settled. In fact, after the soaring hammer prices for fine wine in 2022, prices dropped for all the wines that had seen the highest price increases the previous year. But it’s not all bad news – prices may have dropped in comparison to those seen in 2022 but they remain above those registered in 2021.
The Top 5 highest-priced lots, which ranged from €31,620 to €84,320 in 2022, peaked at €43,820 in 2023, while the highest-priced lot when scaled to 750ml obtained €34,100 at auction in 2022 “only” reached €22,911 last year.
This reduction in prices is all the more striking given that some of the wines in the 2023 rankings were there the year before and you can clearly see how the prices for them have decreased. For example, the highest-priced wine of 2023 was a bottle of Romanée-Conti 2015 from the eponymous domain. It went under the hammer for €22,911 even though the same wine was second in the rankings the previous year, having been sold for €31,620, a decrease of 27.5%.
However, we need to put this decrease into perspective because it does not fully offset the increases seen in 2022. Staying with our example of Romanée-Conti 2015, while it wasn’t sold in 2021, it went under the hammer in the summer of 2020 for €17,355, showing that the price for this bottle has gone up by 32% in three years.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti retakes the top of the leader board
Another notable takeaway from the 2023 rankings is that Domaine de la Romanée-Conti has retaken the top spot as the domain with the highest-priced wine after coming in second place to the Musigny from Domaine Leroy in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
This producer was right on the heels of its illustrious “rival” as a bottle of its Musigny (2011) was sold for €22,444 at auction, just a €500 difference in price.
The rankings of the Top 5 highest-priced bottles of the year were entirely made up of Burgundy, mostly dominated by Domaine de la Romanée-Conti which occupied four out of the five places. Demand is as strong as ever for fine Burgundy Pinot Noirs and their rarity explains their continued dominance. Their rarity is particularly noticeable when you look at the Musigny from Domaine Leroy as iDealwine only sees one or two bottles pass through its auctions every year. And what do we see if we only keep one bottle per producer in the rankings? It’s still Burgundy all the way. In third place is a Chevalier-Montrachet 2005 from Domaine d’Auvenay (€19,030), followed by a Musigny 2010 from Domaine Georges Roumier (€16,902) and a Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Cros Parantoux 1990 from Henri Jayer (€13,764).
Bordeaux grand crus are still in the game
The rankings of the highest-priced lots even out the game between Burgundy and Bordeaux, which occupies three out of the first five places. It should be said that this region is stronger when we talk about lots as it releases wooden cases during the En Primeur campaign. One of the most famous Bordeaux wines, Petrus, is of course on the list, represented this time by a lot of six magnums from 1982 – one of the vintages of the century – which sold for €43,820. A Carré d’As wooden case made up of magnums from 2000 follows, having been sold for €26,730, then another Carré d’As wooden case from 2000 – this time composed of standard bottles – which went under the hammer for €24,163. These were followed by the first two bottles from the Top 5 highest-priced bottles rankings (everything is scaled to 750ml).
Ready-to-drink, excellent vintages and large formats from Bordeaux perform particularly well thanks to the region’s reputation of producing wines with excellent ageing potential.
Burgundy vs Bordeaux: this match is completely open in 2024.