Rare wines... The happiness of the collector or the amateur of discoveries!
As for the Grands Crus Classés of Bordeaux which often produce several hundred thousand bottles a year, their place is not here, their very high prices do not come from their rarity but from a strong demand, in particular on the Asian market. .
Instead, I'm going to offer you an overview of small estates, little-known appellations, rarely used grape varieties or original winemaking methods.
And, with a few exceptions, I will rather target French wines, because there are very many wines that are "rare in France" but which are very easy to find in their country of origin, for example wines made from the "Arena" grape variety. , classics in Armenia.
How can a wine be rare?
- Rarity by the size of the domain,
- by name,
- by the grape variety used,
- by the grape variety used taking into account the appellation,
- by vintage,
- by the type of vinification,
- by the method of aging the wine,
- by the philosophy of vine cultivation,
- by the type of bottle used,
- by the history of the domain,
Quite a program!
The following paragraphs will give you some examples and, I hope, the desire to dive into them and perhaps, who knows, never come back...
Blog articles will complete and clarify all this information.
1. Rarity by the size of the domain.
Pomerol, Château Le Pin
At the top, I suggest Château Le Pin, from the Pomerol appellation.
Located not far from Petrus and planted with Merlot, barely 2 hectares, 6000 to 7000 bottles produced annually.
Extreme rarity and galactic prices! Authorizes himself not to produce the years deemed unworthy of his reputation. I haven't had the chance to taste it yet...
Loire, saumur-Champigny, Clos Rougeard
The mythical "Clos Rougeard", an area of about ten hectares, in Saumur-Champigny appellations for the reds, based on Cabernet-Franc and Anjou for the whites based on Chenin.
Highly sought after by lovers of rather concentrated wines, long aging in barrels, 20,000 bottles produced every year.
Can compete with many Bordeaux Grands Crus Classés, but prices are only tending to rise...
Bourgogne, domaine Coche-Dury
Another mythical domain!
The Coche-Dury estate produces exceptional whites and reds on barely 10 hectares, including around 2 in reds.
Located not far from Meursault, its reputation is worldwide, although little known to the general public.
Reserved for recipients, like the wines of so many other sought-after estates, the last reds that I was able to taste in 2021, Monthélie 2015 and 2016, very different from each other, showed great respect for the terroir and of the vintage, far from standardized wines...
2. Rarity by appellation
I imagine that you are familiar with the Saint-Émilion (5400 ha), Margaux (1500 ha), Pommard (320 ha) appellations... which are particularly renowned and which produce large quantities of bottles each year.
But, did you know that there are appellations covering only a few tens of hectares, or even a few hectares:
- Cour-Cheverny, in the Loire Valley: 50 ha, planted exclusively with Romorantin, a white grape variety that only exists here!
- Palette, in Provence, on 45 ha, gives fabulous white, rosé and red wines.
- Château-Grillet, in the Rhône valley, near Condrieux, made from the same Viognier grape variety, monopoly of the domain of the same name, on only 3.5 ha.
- Finally, the palm of course goes to Burgundy with the smallest appellation in the world: La Romanée, less than one hectare! It is true that in Burgundy appellations of less than 10 ha are legion: Romanée-Conti, La Tâche, La Grande Rue, Chevalier-Montrachet...
This list is not exhaustive, many other rare appellations can be found in particular in Lorraine, Savoie, Loire.
I leave it to you to find them in my catalog!