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The Ten Most Expensive Bordeaux Wines on Three Wine Lists From 1918, 1987, and 2014

January 25, 2014 2 comments
At Mouquin's.  William Glackens. 1905.  At The Art Institute of Chicago.  Image from www.wikipaintings.org.

At Mouquin’s. William Glackens. 1905. At The Art Institute of Chicago. Image from http://www.wikipaintings.org.

I have lately been interested in presenting lists and statistics related to wine.  For this post I decided to compare the ten most expensive Bordeaux wines on three different wine lists.  I have limited this post to standard sized bottles and have preserved the original spelling.  I manually scanned the lists so if I omitted a bottle please let me know.  The 1918 wine list of Mouquin Restaurant and Wine Co. claims they were the “Largest Importers of Bordeaux and Burgundy Wines.”[1].  Whether that claim bears out is immaterial because the list is of good size for the time.  Bordeaux makes up a significant portion with selections both bottled on premises and at the chateaux.

  1. 1907 Chateau Yquem, estate bottled,          $4.00
  2. 1911 Chateau Yquem, estate bottled,          $3.75
  3. 1912 Chateau Yquem, estate bottled,          $3.75
  4. 1906 Chateau Suduiraut, estate bottled,      $3.25
  5. 1907 Chateau Margaux, estate bottled,        $3.25
  6. 1907 Chateau Haut Brion, estate bottled,     $3.00
  7. 1908 Chateau Latour Blanche, estate bottled, $3.00
  8. 1911 Chateau Gruaud Larose, estate bottled,  $3.00
  9. 1908 Chateau Margaux, estate bottled,        $2.75
  10. 1909 Chateau Margaux, estate bottled,       $2.70

The 45th edition of the wine list at Berns’ Steakhouse from August 1987 is rich in Bordeaux from both the 20th and 19th centuries.[2]

  1. 1841 Chateau Lafite Rothschild,             $5,100
  2. 1833 Chateau Gruaud Larose,                 $3,651
  3. 1862 Chateau Lafite Rothschild,             $2,400
  4. 1900 Chateau Mouton Rothschild,             $1,510
  5. 1875 Chateau Lafite Rothschild,             $1,410
  6. 1881 Chateau Lafite Rothschild,             $1,410
  7. 1883 Chateau Lafite Rothschild,             $1,410
  8. 1876 Chateau Gruaud Larose,                 $1,310
  9. 1878 Chateau Lafite Rothschild              $1,210
  10. 1888 Chateau Marguax,                      $1,100

Eric Asimov writes in the recent (for me) article The 12 Best Restaurants in New York for Wine that “A standout Bordeaux list is given at Daniel.”[3]

  1. 1982 Chateau Petrus,                       $12,000
  2. 1937 Chateau d’Yquem,                      $10,000
  3. 1918 Chateau d’Yquem,                      $10,000
  4. 1945 Chateau d’Yquem,                       $9,500
  5. 1990 Chateau Petrus,                        $9,000
  6. 1945 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion,         $8,500
  7. 2000 Chateau Petrus,                        $7,500
  8. 1959 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild,             $7,500
  9. 1945 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild,             $7,500
  10. 1961 Chateau Palmer, 1947 Chateau d’Yquem  $7,000

Chateau Gruaud Larose makes the top ten lists for both Mouquin and Berns.  I am not too surprised by this for 19th century advertisements and wine lists frequency include this chateau.  The presence of multiple vintages of Chateau d’Yquem on both the Mouquin and Daniel wine list is fascinating for it does not appear on the Bern’s list.  This may be due to the Bern’s Chateau d’Yquem vintages going back only to 1929 at $671 per bottle.  Perhaps if it had extended into the 19th century the wines would be more expensive.  The most expensive wine at Daniel is some 3,000 times greater in price than that of Mouquin’s but it should be noted that Mouquin’s top-ten list only reaches back 12 years.  While the 1982 Petrus at Daniel is only some 30 years old half of the top-ten list dates prior to 1950.

Mouquin Restaurant & Wine Co., Sixth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 1905-1915. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Mouquin Restaurant & Wine Co., Sixth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 1905-1915. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.


[1] The Mouquin Restaurant and Wine Co. January 18, 1918. URL: http://menus.nypl.org/menus/32516
[2] Wine List. Berns’ Steakhouse. August 1987.
[3] Asimov, Eric. The 12 Best Restaurants in New York for Wine. The New York Times. October 8, 2013.
[4] Daniel Wine Cellar. URL: http://danielnyc.com/wine-celler

The Top Ten Wine Producing States in 1880 as Compared to 2012

January 24, 2014 8 comments
Colton's intermediate railroad map of the United States. 1882. Call Number G3701.P3 1882 .G15.  Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Colton’s intermediate railroad map of the United States. 1882. Call Number G3701.P3 1882 .G15. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

In 1880 the Department of Agriculture submitted the Report Upon Statistics of Grape Culture and Wine Production in the United States.[1]  This report sought to summarize cultivation and production on a per county basis.  The report was in part driven by the decline of European wine production, particularly that of France.  It was conceded that the young American wine industry did not yet produce wine which would be received the same as the European offerings.  However, it was noted that most Americans lived near areas of wine production, the quality of which was increasing, and perhaps could replace the imported casks of table wine.  The statistics were generated from approximately 7,500 inquiries on average production which were felt to underestimate the true levels.  For the following chart I ranked the states based on Total average wine production.  As I expected, California was by far the largest producing state.  I was surprised to find Missouri, Illinois, New Mexico, and Georgia highly ranked.  For those interested at the other end, Louisiana reported 9 acres of vines and Colorado 52 acres but neither state produced any wine.  The lowest production fell to the 262 gallons from the 55 acres of vines in Rhode Island.

  1. California    13,557,115 Gallons
  2. Missouri       1,824,207 Gallons
  3. Ohio           1,632,073 Gallons
  4. Illinois       1,047,875 Gallons
  5. New Mexico       908,600 Gallons
  6. Georgia          903,244 Gallons
  7. New York         584,148 Gallons
  8. Alabama          422,672 Gallons
  9. Iowa             334,970 Gallons
  10. North Carolina  334,701 Gallons

After looking at the top ten states for 1880 I thought they should be compared to a contemporary ranking.  The ranking of states is used to different effects as noted by Frank Morgan in Is Virginia Really the 5th Largest Wine Producing State? and Todd Godbout’s recent Who’s #5 Trying to Unscramble State Wine Production Statistics.  To produce my contemporary ranking of states I looked at the TTB Statistical Report by State – Wine for 2012.[2]  As Todd noted the Bulk Wine Gallons By State for Still Wines includes cider production.  As I am only interested in the general differences between the last 132 years I based my table on Bottled Wine Gallons by State for Still Wines minus Cider production plus Effervescent production.  Granted this does not account for bulk sales or other factors which would surely switch up rankings after the top three.

  1. California   542,456,564 Gallons
  2. New York      33,771,681 Gallons
  3. Washington    23,613,098 Gallons
  4. Oregon         5,944,277 Gallons
  5. Pennsylvania   5,666,831 Gallons
  6. Texas          2,445,443 Gallons
  7. Iowa           1,706,381 Gallons
  8. Ohio           1,680,495 Gallons
  9. Vermont        1,645,527 Gallons
  10. Florida       1,529,060 Gallons

Given the background on the two tables only California, Ohio, and New York persist from the 1880 list to the 2012 list.  California remains at the top, New York moves up, and Ohio with its similar production levels moves down in ranking.  The Washington Territory was not included in the 1880 survey but the state of Oregon was with only 126 acres of vines producing some 16,900 gallons.  It has come a long way since then!


[1] McMurtrie, William. Report Upon Statistics of Grape Culture and Wine Production in the United States for 1880. 1881. URL: https://ia601602.us.archive.org/26/items/reportuponstatis36mcmu/reportuponstatis36mcmu.pdf
[2] Statistical Report – Wine. January 2012-December 2012. URL: http://www.ttb.gov/statistics/2012/2012wine-final.pdf