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Top 5 rarest wines of France

Burgundy is home to France's rarest wines ...

Such tiny appellations ... and so much in demand!

The world of AOCs (Appellations d'Origine Contrôlées) is full of surprises: huge AOCs like Bordeaux (around 50,000 hectares) coexist with AOCs the size of soccer pitches.

And the smaller the appellation, the less wine there is on the market. Here again, Burgundy and its "climats" stand out. Monks and winegrowers have pushed detail to the extreme, and AOCs are often seen as large ensembles in which the recognized terroirs, the famous climats, are interwoven.

1/ La Romanée - Côte de Nuits, Burgundy - 0.85 hectares (the rarest wine)

This is France's smallest AOC and without doubt one of Burgundy's most prestigious Grands Crus.

Contrary to popular belief, it's not Romanée-Conti that's Burgundy's smallest Grand Cru, but La Romanée!

This "Climat", the size of a soccer pitch, belongs in monopoly to the Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair. 4000 bottles a year, it's the rarest wine in France, so fight for it!

2/ Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet - Côte de Beaune, Burgundy - 1.57 hectares

France's smallest white wine AOC, we're still in Burgundy, but here in Côte de Beaune.

Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet is part of the terroirs of the Grands Crus de blancs de la Côte de Beaune. Alongside the Grands Crus Bâtard-Montrachet, Le Montrachet, Bienvenue-Bâtard-Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet and Montrachet, Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet is one of the rarest and most prestigious white wines in France and the world.

This "little corner" of the Côte de Beaune, between Puligny and Chassagne-Montrachet, produces some of the finest Chardonnay and white wines in the world.

Rest assured, even if the Grands Crus are very expensive and often hard to find, there are still some affordable Premiers Crus and Villages from Puligny and Chassagne that will introduce you to these great terroirs.

3/ La Grande Rue - Côte de Nuits, Burgundy - 1.65 hectares

Of the 5 rarest wines in France, here's the second located in the commune of Vosne-Romanée in the heart of the Côte de Nuits.

Grand Cru "La Grande Rue" is located not far from the famous Romanée-Conti, just across the small road that separates them.

Another point in common with La Romanée, La Grande Rue is also a monopoly. Only Domaine François Lamarche produces and sells this wine, which is also (almost) impossible to find!

4/ La Romanée Conti - Côte de Nuits, Burgundy - 1.77 hectares

No need to revisit this mythical wine, the most famous red Burgundy, the greatest of the Côte de Nuits Grands Crus.

Once again, La Romanée Conti is the monopoly of the eponymous Domaine de la Romanée Conti. Don't expect to ring the domaine's bell to be sold any, as only allocataires (customers belonging to a closed list) of the domaine can buy it (only one bottle per year...) and only on condition that they buy the domaine's other wines at the same time.

Your only chance of acquiring the famous bottle is at auction. But beware of the many counterfeits on the market. Don't forget to empty your Livret A. La Romanée Conti is the second most expensive wine in the world, with an average price of $13,687...

5/ Château Grillet - Northern Rhône (Côte-rôtie, Condrieu), Côtes du Rhône - 3.5 hectares

Owned since June 2011 by François Pinault (also owner of the famous Château Latour in Pauillac), Château Grillet, with its 3.5 hectares, is the monopoly of the eponymous estate. This "Château" is the smallest appellation in the Rhône Valley. Outside Burgundy, it's one of the rarest wines in France (and the world). But you can still buy it more easily than the great Burgundies. Of course, it's not cheap...

The Château-Grillet AOC is similar to its big sister, the Condrieu appellation, both of which are geographically close to each other and made exclusively from the Viognier grape. Situated 500 meters above the Rhone River, the vines form an amphitheater of rows perched on steep "staircase" walls. Grandiose!

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