A special occasion calls for a special beverage, and for much of the world, that beverage is Champagne.
We’re not talking about Italian Prosecco or the off-brand sparkling wine you dug out of a discount bin. We’re talking about real Champagne – the kind that must be made from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France and must follow a specific set of production practices.
It’s an exclusive group, and it becomes even more exclusive when you reach its highest tiers. In the upper echelons of the upper echelons, you’ll find the world’s most expensive Champagnes.
Some bottles of bubbly are so rare that they’re available only in high-end clubs or by special order. Expect to pay for the privilege of sipping such a singular elixir. Even the cheapest of the top ten clocks in at nearly a grand, and number one will set you back five figures.
Check out the priciest bottles of Champagne on the planet below, courtesy of Under the Label. Note: all prices are in USD.
10. Salon Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil-sur-Oger (1.5 Litre Magnum) 2002 — $899
Salon 2002 is, according to the brand, ‘une belle âme’ – a noble soul, the soul of Champagne Salon. The wine-speak continues: iIts self-assurance and power give it the poise of a ballerina.” The palate explodes with “flavours of honeyed orange flower, candied citrus fruits and madeleine buns fresh from the oven.” Upon tasting, the wine feels “simultaneously rich and restrained, the complexity of the aromas and flavours almost precision-engineered.”
9. Champagne Krug Vintage Brut (1.5 Litre) 1988 — $949.99
Krug releases vintage wines in only truly great years. The release of Krug 1988 marked the first time in Krug’s century-and-a-half history that its vintage chronology was reversed. The Krug family opted to present the tender, warm and mature 1989 vintage first, and keep its 1988 vintage in the cellars to realise its full potential. Today, Krug 1988 explodes on the palate with tremendous depth and complexity and maintains a remarkable freshness for its long aging.
8. Champagne Krug Clos du Mesnil Blanc de Blancs 1995 — $969
The 1995 Champagne Krug Clos du Mesnil Blanc de Blancs is one of the rarest and most sought after bottlings of vintage Champagne in the world. The Champagne is characterised by crispness, freshness, and vivacity allied to the rich nutty and honey notes of great Chardonnay wines. The label calls it “a Krug for fanatics of rarity.”
7. Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill (3 Litre) 1988 — $1,175
Champagne Pol Roger created this Prestige Cuvée in homage to Sir Winston Churchill. It was designed with the qualities that he sought in his Champagne in mind: robustness, a full-bodied character, and relative maturity. The exact blend is a closely guarded family secret, but the composition would surly meet with the approval of the man who once declared “My tastes are simple, I am easily satisfied with the best.”
6. Veuve Clicquot Yellowboam Ostrich Limited (3 Litre) — $1,599
Each one of these 3,200 limited edition bottles is a hand-made tribute to the world-renowned Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label. The bottles offer a new twist on the famous label: the words have disappeared, and in their place is an exotic Ostrich leather label in the brand’s famous golden hue. The bottles are also sealed with foil, covered in real 22.4 carat gold, and topped with a collectible 24-carat gold-plated muzzle cap engraved with Madam Clicquot’s signature.
5. Armand de Brignac Brut Gold (Ace of Spades) (3 Litre) — $2,239
Armand de Brignac Brut Gold – the brand’s flagship cuveé – is a singular example of the Brut Champagne tradition. Marvelously complex and full-bodied, its bouquet is both fresh and lively, with light floral notes. On the palate, the Brut Gold has a sumptuous, racy fruit character perfectly integrated with the wine’s subtle brioche accents. The Champagne’s texture is deliciously creamy, with great depth paired with a long, silky finish.
4. Champagne Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 1995 — $3,999
This single-vineyard Champagne was developed, vinified, and aged by the Krug brothers for 15 years in secret. When it finally debuted, it came with one of the highest price tags for a newly released wine of all time. The Clos d’Ambonnay is a blanc de noirs made entirely from Pinot Noir, inspired by Krug’s single-vineyard Clos du Mesnil wine. Compounding the difficulty of acquiring a bottle is the fact that only 250 cases were made.
3. Armand de Brignac Brut Gold (Ace of Spades) (6 Litre) — $6,500
Like the smaller bottle, the Armand de Brignac Brut Gold 6-litre flagship cuveé derives its light, racy effervescence from the quality of the label’s Chardonnay grapes, while Pinot Noir lends strength, boldness, and depth of palate. Pinot Meunier finishes it off with roundness, nuance, and fruitiness. The distinctive gold bottle earned it the nickname “Ace of Spades” after the logo, and the Champagne’s famous fans include Jay Z, who acquired the brand in 2014.
2. Dom Perignon Rosé by David Lynch (Jeroboam, 3 Litre) 1998 — $11,179
On the nose, this rosé’s initial floral and perfumed notes blossom rapidly, leading to aromas of orange peel and dried fruits. In the mouth, the wine reveals a fullness of texture coupled with a remarkably balanced structure that is both sophisticated and clear-cut. What really makes it special, however, is the bottle: just ten were designed by Hollywood director David Lynch (famed for his work on films such as The Elephant Man, Eraserhead, and Mulholland Drive) exclusively for Dom Perignon.
1. Dom Pérignon Rose Gold (Mathusalem, 6 Litre) 1996 — $49,000
Only 35 bottles of the 6-litre gold-plated Dom Perignon Mathusalem were produced. In 2010, one of those ultra-rare bottles broke the record for the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold at a British bar. Elias Yiallouri, the bar manager, called Rosé Gold “the champagne of kings” and told The Telegraph, ”The 1996 vintage is regarded as one of the finest in the 20th century… it’s incredibly rare and sought-after. Each bottle is like a piece of fine art – stunningly beautiful, extremely valuable and highly collectable.”