It may not surprise you to hear that most of the world’s most expensive fortified wines come from the countries of the Iberian Peninsula.
Port, Madeira, and Sherry have long sated the appetite of those seeking suitable-looking bottles to gather dust in an appealing manner in their cellar. Fortified wines are actually really accomplished at gathering dust. Oxidative aging – as many of these wines have had – increases the longevity of a wine, which increases the amount a merchant might charge for it. Throw in a special crystal decanter and a fancy box, and you’ve got yourself a list of the most expensive fortified wines in the world.
Compania Vinicola da Madeira CVM Terrantez 1795 Vintage, Madeira, Portugal
The most expensive fortified wine we have on Wine-Searcher is a Madeira with a truly eye-watering average price of $10,557, which, if we were including fortified wines on the list of the World’s Most Expensive Wines, would bring it in at #2. This wine hails from Portugal, but isn’t Port – rather, it comes from the island of Madeira.
Barbadillo Versos 1891 Amontillado Sherry, Andalucia, Spain
Another outrageously elderly wine takes the number two spot on the list, but it was only released in 2016. The Versos 1891 comes from a single cask of 125-year-old Sherry, which was given to the company proprietor Manuel Barbadillo on the occasion of his christening. This cask filled just 100 bottles, which came to have an average price of $8663 on Wine-Searcher.
W & J Graham’s Ne Oublie Port, Portugal
The world’s most famous fortified wine gets its first look in on the Most Expensive list with a Port whose grapes were picked in 1882. This year marked a rather auspicious occasion in the history of Port – it was the year that Andrew James Symington arrived in Portugal and set about building an empire that endures today, much like this wine. The name Ne Oublie is the motto of Clan Graham, and rather aptly means “Do Not Forget” – a motto you’re likely to take to heart after shelling out $6360 on a bottle
H.M. Borges Terrantez T, Madeira, Portugal
For all its relative obscurity, Madeira is dominating the list of most expensive wines – mostly because of its incredible ability to age. Henrique Menezes Borges established his Madeira company in 1877 and bought a heap of old casks of wine. Some of these dated back to the 18th Century, which was the golden age of Madeira – the founding fathers toasted with Madeira after signing the Declaration of Independence. George Washington, in particular, was fond of a glass or two, which is probably how he ended up with wooden teeth. As we’ve seen from the first few wines on the list, age gets attention, and this wine – the most recent vintage of which is 1846 – has an average price on Wine-Searcher of $5516.
Taylor Fladgate Scion 1855 Vintage Tawny Port, Portugal
This is a true pre-phylloxera wine. It isn’t made from vines that managed to survive the phylloxera epidemic in the Douro in the late 19th Century – it’s made from vines that eventually did succumb to the dreaded louse. The grapes for this wine were harvested in 1855, while phylloxera was still safely ensconced in the New World. Taylor Fladgate bought the cask and decided to bottle it as is, and now it can be yours for the low, low price of $2860.
Quinta do Vallado Adelaide Tribute Port, Portugal
This wine is not a tribute to the distinctive style of Barossa Shiraz. It’s named for Dona Antonia Adelaide Ferreira, who was one of the key figures in Quinta do Vallado’s long history, and in the history of the Douro itself. The wine comes from two casks, made in 1866, that were discovered in a cool cellar in the Douro. Like many of the other products on the list, the Adelaide Tribute is packaged to within an inch of its life in a stoppered decanter, which comes inside an architecturally designed wooden box. It has an average price on Wine-Searcher of $2800.
Penfolds 50-Year-Old Rare Tawny, South Australia
The Penfolds 50-Year-Old Rare Tawny comes from barrels that date back to 1915, and also includes portions of the Grandfather Tawny from 1965 and 1969 and the Great Grandfather Tawny in 1994. There are just 330 bottles of this painstakingly blended wine, all packaged in hand-blown glass and given a not-insignificant price tag of $2592.
Seppeltsfield Para Centenary 100-Year-Old Vintage Tawny, Barossa Valley, Australia
Seppeltsfield Para Vintage, Barossa Valley, Australia
Seppeltsfield, one of Barossa’s pioneering wineries, has been making wines in the famous valley since 1851. Its collection of fortified wines is impressive – the company boasts an unbroken string of Tawny vintages dating back to 1878. Its standard vintage release is no slouch either – respectively, the two wines come in at #8 and #9 on the list at $2092 and $1843, suggesting that storing barrels for a century isn’t an inexpensive endeavor.
Justino’s Verdelho Vintage, Madeira, Portugal
Madeira wines, thanks to their high sugar content and their oxidative aging, are probably, on average, the most age-worthy wines made on this earth. Which is why there are so many of them on this list – and this wine, with its average price of $1611, is no exception. Justino’s oldest Madeira available for sale that we list was made in 1748, which is about as far back as we count here at Wine-Searcher.
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