Our sommeliers blow the dust off their most exceptional vinous finds.
While there’s plenty of palatable price-friendly wines around, there are certain wines that through crafting, origin or scarcity are considered rare and valuable enough to fetch prices in the thousands – and sometimes hundreds of thousands – of dollars.
Some of those wines are safely stored in the cellars at The Star. We asked Kiyomi’s Isaac Coleman and Addy Lam from BLACK Bar and Grill to reveal the rarest wines they have in their cellars, how they were sourced and what makes them so unique.
What are the top five rarest wines in the cellar?
- 1983 Pétrus, Pomerol, France
- 1982 Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, France
- 2000 Chris Ringland Dry Grown Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia
- 2016 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Romanée Conti, Vosne-Romanée, France
- 2016 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage, Hermitage, France
- 1898 Henriques & Henriques Verdelho Solera Madeira, Portugal
- 1962 Penfolds Bin 60A Cabernet Shiraz Coonawarra/Kalimna, South Australia
- 1985 Henri Jayer Echézeaux Grand Cru, Burgundy, France
- 2008 Château Le Pin Merlot Blend, Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
- 2009 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Montrachet Grand Cru, Burgundy, France
How did you source them?
Isaac Coleman: Some wines such as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, have such a cult following and demand huge prices on the wine market, sourcing them can be tricky. As a result, the relationships that we foster with our suppliers are integral in ensuring we’re able to source these wines directly. We’ve also called upon private collectors, which offers its own set of challenges and rewards.
Addy Lam: I have decades-long relationships with reliable wine importers, auction houses and private wine collectors which is where I source our rarest bottles. For me, I won’t risk purchasing bottles if I don’t trust the supplier and don’t know where the bottle has come from, how it has been cellared or stored, or its individual history.
What makes the wines so special?
Isaac Coleman: What makes these five wines special depends on the individual wine. The Chris Ringland Dry Grown Shiraz, for example, is from an exceptional vineyard in the Barossa and is made by a legend of the Australian wine industry who crafts it in an unashamedly traditional style. As this particular vintage saw only 700 bottles filled, it has become quite rare.
The Pétrus and the Romanée-Conti both speak of a very specific place. The former is merlot, grown in 40-million-year-old blue clay that imbues the wine with characteristics not found anywhere else. And the latter is sourced from a vineyard wholly owned by Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – they’re a rare occurrence in Burgundy, speaking beautifully of the place and vintage. Pound-for-pound, these are the most expensive wines on earth, and people are always happy to pay for them.
As for the 1982 Château Lafite Rothschild, on release, this wine sold for about $17 AUD per bottle, but a perfect storm of conditions (its icon status, the vintage and so on) has driven that price up to around $100,000 per bottle.
With the Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage, you’re paying for what’s considered to be the greatest producer of shiraz/syrah in the world, plus the mastery and experience of winemaker Jean-Louis.
Addy Lam: Burgundy in France is ground zero for rare and expensive wines. As for the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, chardonnays made from the Montrachet vineyard are considered the ultimate expression of the grape and are some of the most expensive and rarest wines in the world.
In Bordeaux, Le Pin produces just 600-700 cases of wine each year, so its prices are driven by its scarcity.
Closer to home, Penfolds Bin 60A is often said to be the greatest wine ever made in Australia and is rated in the top 10 worldwide. At a recent live Barossa wine auction, a record price was set for a bottle of the 1962 vintage of $21,552 AUG – three times the estimate.
And the 1898 Henriques & Henriques Verdelho Solera Madeira is one of the most underrated fine wines in the world. Back in the day, Madeira was the preeminent drink for wealthy Americans and was allegedly used to toast the signing of the Declaration of Independence.