Bordeaux fine wines – why so expensive?

As referenced in an earlier update, in 1985 a single bottle of 1787 Chateau Lafite wine was sold for an astonishing £105,000.

That was for a wine that could no longer be consumed, having been kept for over 200 years whereas the normal maturity time is 50 years after which the wine becomes more or less expensive vinegar.

While not all Bordeaux wines would fetch such an astronomical price, most First Growths from the region command a price that is out of the range of the average middle-class wine lover. There are many reasons for Bordeaux fine wines commanding such incredible prices, but let’s take a look at some important factors:

The Bordeaux region in France is ideal for growing the best quality grapes that yield the highest concentration of flavours and aromas. Combine that with their centuries of experience in grape cultivation and you understand why the vineyards are special.

Their wine-making skills have been honed over the years, enabling wine producers to get the best out of each year’s vintage, even a bad one. Add to that their use of better tools and equipment including the best oak barrels, premium glass bottles and cork for bottling them.

Then there’s the aging of the wine: most Bordeaux wines taste better when they’re allowed to age over a period of time, usually up to 50 years.

There’s also their relative scarcity. Only a limited quantity of a vintage wine can be produced. Each time a wine connoisseur opens a bottle of Lafite or Mouton Rothschild, there’s one less bottle available for the rest of the world.

Finally, more people, mainly the nouveau riche Asians, are discovering the pleasures of drinking wine – so as demand increases we are seeing prices rise.


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