When something is worth a lot of money, thieves notice and do what thieves do.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is pinot noir made in the Côte-d’Or (Golden Slope) region of Burgundy, France. Average price of a 750 ml bottle of their best offering, if you can get on the buy list, is between $12,000 and $15,000. It is the most expensive wine in the world.
Those privileged or lucky enough to taste it say it is the best wine in the world, which you expect them to say after paying that kind of money.
In 2014 and 2015, thieves stole Domaine de la Romanée-Conti bottles in California and France. These were not swipe-a-single-bottle events where a vacuous parvenu got pilfered.
The French job involved 31 cases of the 2012 vintage from a warehouse. Thirty-one cases. At an average price of $12,600 for this vintage, $4.6 million worth of fermented grape juice.
The California thieves struck the famed French Laundry restaurant in Napa and cleaned out more than $300,000 worth of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (12 bottles), Screaming Eagle (five bottles), plus 59 other high-end offerings. Screaming Eagle is Napa’s big bucks bauble—vintages go for $2,000-3,000 per bottle.
The French Laundry’s purloined pours were recovered at the home of a North Carolina wine collector, to the relief of all and surprise of many who did not know North Carolina was a hotbed of larcenous lovers of investment-grade libations.
Bottles filched in France have not been recovered.
Factoid: Although the Burgundian region is now called the Côte-d’Or, that name is an abbreviation of the original “Côte-d’Orient” (East Slope). Golden Slope is much sexier name, especially when you sell for $12,600 a pop.
• Leviathan California Red Wine 2012: Superbly delicious with depth, balance, dimension; inspiring symphony of correct flavors and elegance from same people who make Screaming Eagle. $48
• Merry Edwards Meredith Estate Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) 2011: Meredith “Merry” Edwards is Russian River Valley/Sonoma superstar. Taste this to find out why. $57-75
Last round: Sign at a wine bar: “If you are drinking wine to forget, please pay in advance.”
Email Gus at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow tasting notes on Twitter @gusclemens. Website: gusclemens.com. Facebook: Gus Clemens on Wine.