Collectors may not be willing to spend on or at auctions lately – but when it comes to wine, that's a totally different story.
Last Wednesday, a private collection of two 12 -case bottles of Henri Jayer's 1978 Richebourg Burgundy fetched a record-breaking £211,500 ($306,675) at Sotheby's London auction house. That's clock in at about $25,556.25 per bottle, according to Sotheby's.
Additionally, a lot of 12 bottles of Henri Jayer's 1976 Richebourg also set a record at the Sotheby's auction, selling for £108,100 ($156,745). In total, the sale brought in a total of £1.58 million, more than double the low estimate of the lot.
According to , Richebourg literally means "rich town," so you know this wine has to be good. In order to qualify as a Richebourg Grand Cru – an distinction which means the vineyard is of the highest quality in Burgundy – the wine must consist of at least 85% Pinot Noir grapes; Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc grapes may compromise no more than 15% of the wine.
In 2014, Sotheby's sold a 114- bottle set of Romanée-Conti wine for , or $14,121 per bottle, significantly less than Wednesday's auction.
If the name Henri Jayer sounds unfamiliar, it's likely because he produced "frustratingly small quantities" of wine – at least, according to . A native of the Burgundy wine region, Jayer was a self-taught winemaker known for cold-soaking pinot noir grapes in order to bring out their color and flavor, reports. The New York Times writes that Jayer bought small sections of the Clos Parentoux vineyard from various owners over the course of his career, and blended those wines those from other vineyards until 1978. In that year, he bottled his first wine entirely from the Clos Parentoux vineyard, which, at just under 300 cases, established his reputation as a winemaker – and explains why the 1978 vintage fetched such a high price at auction.
As for the rest of us? We'll settle for two-buck chuck – that is, unless the lucky bidder is willing to share.