The bottle that sold for over half a million bucks.

Issue #19 October, 2020 

This being the month known for all that is frightening and unnerving, (no I’m not talking about the upcoming U.S. election) I thought just for fun we should explore a few wines of the scary variety.

So sweep aside the cobwebs down here in the cellar, have a seat around the old tasting table and get to know three bottles that might just petrify your pumpkin. 

Welcome back to the cellar.

To begin, here’s a bottle that is downright shocking. Two years ago this month, a French Burgundy sold at Sotheby’s in New York for a spine chilling $558,000. That’s almost half a house in Toronto! Needless to say, the bottle was an extremely rare one; 1945 Romanée Conti.

The 73-year-old bottle became the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold at auction, selling for more than 17 times its original estimate of a mere $32,000. 

This wine has become the king of collectible wines with the 1945 considered its most prized vintage.

Romanée-Conti only produced 600 bottles in 1945; the last year before the producer pulled up its old, prized vines and replaced them with younger vines.

Sotheby’s described the 1945 vintage as “concentrated and exotic, with seemingly everlasting power — a wine at peace with itself.”  I describe it as, ‘get over yourself.’ According to Elon Musk, one day you could move to Mars for less than what some collector paid for that single bottle. That said, I can only wish we had one to dust off and try for ourselves. 

Moving down the price scale a tad. Our next wine is a nice recommendation from a great friend and loyal affordable cellar-dweller. It wears a bit of a frightening label with ghoulish Halloween colours and all.  

But on a positive note, you can’t miss it on the shelf.

Casa Todelano Tempranillo
La Mancha, Spain
750 mL bottle LCBO#: 13462

Casa Todelano features Tempranillo, the Spanish black grape known for producing full-bodied wine. And it is often referred to as Spain’s noble grape.

In the glass this wine is as dark as Dracula’s cape. And for eight bucks, it doesn’t bite. 

With aromas of herbs, it tastes lively and fruity. It’s medium bodied but with enough weight and tannins to make it quite enjoyable. 

And here’s the good news, it’s $557,992 less than what was paid for the burgundy we just discovered. No trick here. This cheapy is a treat.

It’s time I let you in on something. Don’t look now but while we’ve been happily sitting here in the cellar exploring the world of wine, we have not been alone. Perhaps you’ve felt a chill in the air. I’m not surprised because there’s a ghost in our midst.

A ghost from California.

Ghost Pines Winemaker’s Blend Chardonnay
California, USA
750 mL bottle VINTAGES#: 308122 Always Available

Ghost Pines Winemaker’s Blend Chardonnay isn’t creepy in the least. It’s a friendly ghost.  In the glass, it’s a buttery, pale yellow. Bright and fresh, it quietly screams (oxymoron alert) flavours of pear, pineapple and vanilla. 

California winemakers seem to have a thing for vanilla. Sometimes a bit too much if you ask me. But in this case, it works. And as the temps drop, a tasty Chardonnay like this one is a nice alternative to the crisp and dry summer whites of the world.

I’m afraid our Halloween visit is drawing to a close. We’ve virtually gone door to door to door from France to Spain to California. That beats going around the block begging for treats. 

I’d say we’ve somewhat surrounded the world of scary wine. As Dr. Peter Venkman said in the movie Ghostbusters, “We came, we saw, we kicked its ass.” 

See you back in the cellar in November.

Until then, keep your glass of wine close and your friends even closer. 

And in the spirit of Halloween and everyone’s good health, keep your mask on.


Remember, if you’re interested in any back issues of Jim’s Affordable Cellar,  or a little background on yours truly, visit 

If you’re enjoying my wine meanderings, I’m really glad. And please let me know your thoughts or tell me about any great wine you’ve discovered. Of course, if you know someone who might like to join us in the cellar each month, send me their email or they can contact me at: 

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