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Most Expensive California Wine

Most Expensive California Wine

iLoveWine Staff

The popularity of Californian Chardonnays runs way back in history. These wines are well known for their concentration of fruits which produces luscious, rich wines. The California Cult wines are dominantly produced in one region and with a single grape type. Undoubtedly, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is the highest-selling bottle; hence, it is no surprise the world’s most valuable wineries are situated here. The weather conditions and the winemaker’s expertise adds to the frenzy of creating a cult wine.

Buying a Cult Wine

Most expensive cult wines are hard to buy directly from the winery. One looking to buy a cult wine must have themselves registered on the winery’s mailing list. The interested wine collectors get notified when a bottle is allotted to them.

Expensive California Wine

Here is a list of the most expensive and desirable California Wines.

1. Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc

Screaming Eagle has one of the smallest vineyards and makes the most expensive wines. One of the primary reasons this wine commands such high prices is the limited supply. On average, only 500 to 800 cases of the Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon are produced every year. It was one of the original “California Cult Wines” and began gaining popularity with the very first vintage, and has also been administered as “the perfect wine” by wine advocates.

Pricing and Taste Notes:

Screaming Eagle wine prices vary from $3000 to $7000 per 750ml bottle, depending on the wine’s year. The older the wine, the more expensive it gets. The Screaming Eagle wines are known for their velvety texture, complexity, depth of layers, and aromas and flavors of blackberries, dark chocolate, and black cherry. The tannins of this wine are refined and soft yet bold enough to enable aging well for 10 to 20 years or more. While it carries the notes of cherry, licorice, crème de cassis, and smoke, the wine has a deep blackcurrant color.

Fun Fact-

“Traditionally, a male-dominated profession, a woman was responsible for the initial run and success of Screaming Eagle.”

2. Sine Qua Non

4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Sine Qua Non has played a major role in putting the Rhone Varietals on the international wine map. What is unique about SQN? SQN has been extremely conventional when it came to bottling, naming, and labeling their wines. While the winery owner handcrafts each label, SQN also strategically manages its production and distribution channels. To be honored with wine from them, you have to wait for nearly five to seven years.

Price and Taste Notes:

A bottle of Sine Qua Non is priced at $1,399 for 750 ml. The wine is structured and highly concentrated, with full-bodied depth and richness. SQN has flavors and aromas of sweet oak, smoked meats, graphite, black raspberry, pepper, and cassis-like fruit. It strikes a mid-palate and evolves gracefully for fifteen to twenty years.

3. Ridge Wines

4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello

The Ridge Wines have a straightforward approach: discover the most intense and flavorful grapes, lead the natural process, and draw all the fruit’s richness into the wine. The taste determines when to pick when to press, then when to rack, which varietals, and what parcels to include, and finally when to bottle. The Ridge winemakers handle the grapes as gently as feasible to increase the complexity and retain the nuances. There are no historical recipes, only sensitivity and attention to detail. Ridge vineyards produce nearly 100,000 cases of vintages daily.

Price and Taste Notes:

Ridge’s flagship Monte Bello has helped evolve the perception of California wine with the 1971 vintage’s success at the 1976 Judgment of Paris. The Ridge Wines range from $27 to $230 per 750 ml, depending on the wine variables. Though Monte Bello is a sure bet, the Zinfandel is just as impressive in terms of length, structure, and age-ability. Monte Bello is a young yet easy drink. It is full-bodied, rich yet light, and concentrated; it is just delightful with its blackberry, tobacco leaf, smoke, vanilla, and espresso bean. Another decade in the cellar will deepen the complexity; however, this Ridge wine is not missed by wine lovers!

4. Marcassin

4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Marcassin is undoubtedly the best that Sonoma has to offer, also addressed as the “young wild boar.”  For Marcassin Chardonnay, the grapes are harvested early morning, mostly before sunrise, to maintain a maximum level of freshness, and are then moved by chilled trucks for fermentation. The fruit is cold-pressed for a couple of days before fermentation. Marcassin is fermented with natural yeasts and is aged in oak barrels for nearly twelve months.

What is unique about Marcassin?

All the Marcassin wines are bottled without filtering or cold stabilization, which means Marcassin Chardonnay may have a cloudy appearance. However, this does not make it unfit for consumption, as the wines age well.

Price and Taste Notes:

Marcassin Chardonnay costs $425 per 750 ml bottle. Well, the wealth of fruits is indeed felt in its taste. It is high in concentration, intensity, and richness, backed with layers of perfectly ripe and lush textured pears, apples, and citrus, with a hint of vanilla and honeysuckle. It has an oak influence that vanishes quickly due to the luxurious fruit flavors.

5. Harlan Estate

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

The Cabernet magic from Napa continues. The Harlan Estate is a super-expressive, textured wine. It is produced on the wooded hillside of Napa Valley, where H. William Harlan thought it would produce grapes of exceptional quality. The winery produces almost 1800 cases of wine each year. Here is a brand whose waiting list you’ll probably never make it to.

Price and Taste Notes:

On average, it costs $425 per 750ml bottle. The 2011 Harlan Estate is a dark red cherry, plum, spice, and new leather poured in a glass. It is decidedly mid-weight and gracious and impressive for its exceptional balance and sense of proportion. The 2015 Harlan Estate is a beast that exudes a sexy, opulent style of vintage blended with the classic structure and depth. There is a beautiful array of blackberries, blackcurrants, crushed rocks, graphite, cured meats, smoky camphor, and dried tobacco aromas.

“This Vintage is Sexy yet Complex.”

Wrapping up!

Here is a comprehensive list of California’s most expensive, beautiful, and vintage wines. Each of them has its uniqueness which gives them the “Cult Wine” status. These are all known for their premium quality, limited production, and exorbitant prices. More often, they are collected than sipped on.

These are considered an investment or a “Trophy Wine.”

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