Old guys reminisce about wine prices

I have been collecting about 32 years. Looking back at prices is fun (and depressing). Since my focus is mostly Burgundy, the price increases are astounding. Might be fun to reminisce.

85 Ponsot Clos de la Roche VV $80
90 La Tache $266
90 mixed case DRC $2000
96 Raveneau Butteaux $36
82 Cheval Blanc $42.50.
99 Roumier Bonnes Mares $119

Have many more such memories, thought I’d get ball rolling.

1990 Latour $850 a case

reminds me of a funny story. Maybe not so funny. 75 cases of 90 Latour sitting on W Exchange floor. $900/case. Tried to talk wife into letting me buy it all as an investment. She said no and I listened. Now it’s more than that per bottle. Would have been a stunning move.

I’ll add a twist: reminiscing about a retailer who frequently had close outs. Sam’s in Chicago would take one-offs from distributors and, twice a year, move stuff through at incredible prices. I always got there first thing, as doors opened. My best score was 6-bottle cases of 1999 Jadot grand cru at $25 per bottle. Clos St Denis, Latricieres-Chambertin, Romanee St. Vivant. And one case of Montrachet at $50 per. They are still drinking wonderfully. The Clos St. Denis was particularly breath taking. Jadot doesn’t make it every year, as the plot / must / grapes are contracted. I no longer remember, exactly.

For the same sale, Sam’s had two battered cardboard cases of 2000 Domaine Bart Clos de Beze for $10 per. There was significant bottle variation with these, but at their best they were very, very good.

1963 Fonseca > $12.00
1961 Figeac > $15.00
1961 Palmer > $60.00
1964 Petrus > $70.00
1985 Meo Cros Parantoux > $40.00
Tons of 1950s Vallana Spannas > $10.00
1982 Mouton Rothschild > $40.00
1964 Barolo Borgogno > $10.00
1974 Ridge Montebello > $12.00

I could go on and on… [cry.gif]


85 Truchot Charmes and Clos de la Roche $45
88 Truchot Charmes $45
96 Truchot Charmes $45
97 Truchot Charmes $17
98 Truchot Charmes $40
99 Truchot Charmes and Clos de la Roche $45
01 Truchot Charmes $50
02 Truchot Charmes and Clos de la Roche $65
02 Truchot Combottes $50
01 Roumier Bonnes Mares $94
85 Giacosa Barbaresco SSR $77

In 1994, I saw the 1990 Montrose on the shelf in the low $40s, cases of the stuff. I passed, went for the 86 Gruaud Larose for $25, and the 90 Pichon Baron for $30.

82 Gruaud Larose $15.
82 Leoville las Cases $25

The funny thing about Truchot; it took a while for the pricing to escalate. In 2008 (Truchot’s last vintage was 2005) Flickinger was closing out 1er crus for @ $45 a bottle. Now selling for $400 / $500.

82 Pichon Lalande $500 case
82 Ducru $400 case
87 George Jayer Echezeaux $25

1953 & 1959 Margaux > $75.00
1959 Latour > $80.00
1959 Leroy Musigny > $125.00 (my favorite all time Red Burg)

A tasting of all the 1961 First Growths > $75.00


These are wines I purchased in the mid to late 1980’s:

1978 Domaine des Varoilles Bonnes Mares $22

1982 Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Les Pucelles $12 (375 ml)

1982 Joseph Drouhin Chablis 1er Cru $4.99

MV Krug $22 (375 ml)

I can play this one.

From my old journal under my desk:
1982 CH Leoville Piyferre, from Astor Nyc- $151 the case
1966 CH Pape Clement, Chicago Wine CO Auction #31 - $260 per 6
1983 CH Pichon Baron, Garnet Nyc- 6@ $12.50 per
1983 CH Prieuré-Lichine, Garnet, Nyc- 5@ $11.99 per
1983 CH Mouton Rothschild, Garnet Nyc- - 2@ $41.50 per
1985 CH Leoville Barton, Park Ave Liq. NYC - 12 @ 160 (futures)
1970 CH Cos Labory, CWC auction #35, 5@ $111
1967 CH Pavie, CWC #35, 3@ $14.25 per
1983 CH Pichon Longueville Lalande, Quality House, Nyc- 6@ $30 per
1967 CH Palmer, CWC and WSokolin, 4@ $40 per
1979 Pavillon Rouge du Margaux, $16
1978 CH Lynch Bages, $23
1976 Les Forte’s de Latour,$15
1961 CH Leoville Las Cases, 2@ $80 per
1973 CH Mouton Rothschild (Second I was), 2@ $55 per
1964 Borgogno Barolo Res, $30
1971 GConterno Barolo Montfortino Res, $22 (sold to Rudy)
1978 Pio Cesare Barolo Res, $16
1978 La Giocondo Brunello,$16
1978 Il Piggione Brunello, $16
1978 Prunotto Cannubi , $15

That was fun!

These are the prices when I got into the market back in 1993. The question is, can you more readily afford Montrose now than the $40 sticker in 1994? I was straight out of law school so had some jingle in my pocket but $40 for a bottle was a lot of coin! I woulda drank it early anyway.

c 2002 Costco stores in the Chicago area were discounting 1999 BDX. Gruaud Larose, Grand Puy Ducasse, etc for $9.97, Leoville Barton for $5.97, Haut Brion for $59.97. I cornered one inventory manager who had his markdown list, it showed 2 bottles of Latour for the same price as Haut Brion. I searched through every box under the display bins, but never found them.

1963 Noval Nacional $64.00

1967 Chateau Lafite, in a restaurant, $20. This was 1980 and the restaurant was Howard Johnsons (seriously)!

When the 1982 Bordeaux were released, I was living on a graduate student stipend of $500/month. No matter how little those wines cost back then, they’re far more affordable to me now!

To be fair, that’s only a 9-10% CAGR (excluding storage costs!), and if you were buying cabs as an investment around 1992, you probably also would’ve loaded up on Napa cabs that turned out to be worse investments than government bonds . . . its not easy to make money in wine.

Heck, I’d take that any day of the week! My planner has me with a whopping return of -13.07% over the past full year. Buy high, sell low!

1995 DRC Montrachet in a local club on the list. $500
I bought more than several 1999 Grand Cru Truchots for under $90. Drank them because they were SO delicious in their youth.
Now wished I had a few.

2000 Giacosa Barbaresco Asilli Riserva $110
1998 G Conterno Cascina Francia Barolo $34