The Rhône: the top 20 highest-priced bottles at auction (first semester of 2018)

rhone expressAs the first semester of 2018 comes to a close, we show you the Rhône domaines causing the biggest stir at auction. The 20 most expensive bottles so far this year reveal the enormous potential of this great region.

As with all the rankings we are currently releasing, we have only selected one cuvée from each domaine (the most expensive one) in order to give you a broader and more in-depth view of the Rhône performance.

Exponential growth

The Rhône may be eclipsed by the two fine wine heavy weights, Bordeaux and Burgundy, but it has steadily risen to become the third most represented region at auction. Its increasing presence and significance on the fine wine auction market is thanks to news of its exceptional terroir spreading across the border: the proportion of non-French buyers reaches 60% in the Rhône top 20.

In 2017, only three bottles broke the €1,000 threshold (single bottle format) while already this year seven bottles have been auctioned for more than this sum

The star of the show is the famous Cuvée Cathelin from Jean-Louis Chave in Hermitage. Only produced when the vintage permits it, this cuvée is in strong demand due to Jean-Louis’ recent decision to halt its commercialisation. One bottle donated by the domaine for a charity auction reached the record price of €12,652, making it the most expensive bottle from the region so far in 2018. Second place goes to another Rhône celebrity: the La Mouline cuvée from Guigal in the emblematic 1978 vintage was bought by an Austrian enthusiast for €2,432.

Collectible items and old vintages

One of the Rhône’s particularities is its abundance of “collectible” cuvées in old vintages. These cuvées arouse much interest amongst oenophiles at auction and often owe their rarity to a domaine no longer existing or after the death of a certain winemaker. This is the case for the Cornas 1999 from Noël Verset.

Unique cuvées

At the heart of these rankings are the cuvées that stand out thanks to a particular singularity. The Châteauneuf cuvée Chimère produced by Clos Saint Jean in collaboration with Sine Qua Non (USA) finds itself in 4th position in the 2010 vintage, the first cuvée to be produced. The prestigious Château de Beaucastel finds itself in 9th place thanks to the exceptional cuvée Hommage à Jacques Perrin in the 1989 vintage, once again the first vintage produced.

Appellations and domaines on the rise

The final defining feature of these rankings is the emergence of the lesser-known appellations. Bottles from the renowned Châteauneuf, Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage are accompanied by the Cornas of Noël Verset and Thierry Allemand. Although Gigondas doesn’t appear in the rankings, it’s an appellation to watch and Domaine Saint Cosme saw a bottle of its Hominis Fides cuvée go for €219 (22nd position).

We are proud to say that many of these signatures are partner domaines of iDealwine and we are honoured to work with Jean-Louis Chave, Guigal, René Rostaing, Paul Jaboulet Ainé, Château de Beaucastel, La Mordorée and Ogier.

The Rhône: top 20 highest-priced bottles of the first semester of 2018

Position Lot Lot price (incl. VAT) Price (per 75cl bottle & incl. VAT) Variation on price estimate (or reserve price) Date of sale Country of residence of winning bidder
1 Bottle of Hermitage Cuvée Cathelin 2009 – J.-L. Chave €12,652 €12,652 316% 04/06/2018 Poland
2 Bottle of Côte-Rôtie La Mouline 1978 – Guigal €2,432 €2,432 12/04/2018 Austria
3 Bottle of Côte-Rôtie Côte Brune 1988 – M. Gentaz-Dervieux €2,250 €2,250 107% 21/06/2018 Netherlands
4 Magnum of Châteauneuf-du-Pape Sine Qua Non Chimere 2010 – Clos Saint Jean €2,554 €1,277 40% 17/05/2018 France
5 Bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1989 – Château Rayas €1,216 €1,216 30% 21/06/2018 France
6 Bottle of Hermitage La Chapelle 1952 – Paul Jaboulet Aîné €1,155 €1,155 328% 15/02/2018 United Kingdom
7 Bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée spéciale 1998 – Henri Bonneau & Fils €1,034 €1,034 54% 14/06/2018 Netherlands
8 Bottle of Côte-Rôtie Côte Brune 1991 – Jamet €730 €730 134% 15/02/2018 Finland
9 Bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage à Jacques Perrin 1998 – Château de Beaucastel €620 €620 23% 31/01/2018 France
10 Bottle of Cornas 1999 – Noël Verset €584 €584 91% 29/03/2018 Hong Kong
11 Bottle of Hermitage 1959 – Cave De Tain €511 €511 84% 15/03/2018 France
12 Bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Plume du Peintre 2005 – La Mordorée €462 €462 38% 14/06/2018 France
13 Bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Da Capo 2000 – Du Pegaü €462 €462 20% 31/01/2018 France
14 Magnum of Châteauneuf-du-Pape Sanctus Sanctorum 2009 – Clos Saint-Jean €851 426 € 27% 28/02/2018 Netherlands
15 Bottle of Côte-Rôtie Le Dolium 2006 – Benetiere €389 €389 78% 21/06/2018 Switzeland
16 Bottle of Côte-Rôtie Côte Blonde 1999 – R. Rostaing €353 €353 12% 15/03/2018 France
17 Bottle of Côte-Rôtie Cote Blonde La Garde 1978 – Dervieux Thaize €328 €328 73% 18/01/2018 United Kingdom
18 Bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape Secret de Sabon 2001 – R. Sabon €328 €328 15/02/2018 Netherlands
19 Magnum of Cornas Reynard 1999 – T. Allemand €608 304 € 56% 29/03/2018 Hong Kong
20 Bottle of Côte-Rôtie La Belle Hélène 2010 – Ogier €304 €304 28/06/2018 France

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Other things to read on the iDealwine blog:

The top 50 highest-priced bottles at auction (first semester of 2018)

The Loire: top 20 highest-priced bottles at auction (first semester of 2018)

Provence and Corsica: top 20 highest-priced bottles at auction (first semester of 2018)