Only 100 bottles of Barbadillo Versos 1891 Sherry have been released, with a price tage of £8,000 per bottle. Decanter's John Stimpfig was lucky enough to get a taste; here's what he thought.
In my experience, it’s pretty hard to spend a fortune on Sherry – however good it is and however hard you try. To many aficionados, it is one of the world’s most underrated wines and also one of the most attractively priced.
However, there’s almost always the exception to the rule. And right now, that honour unquestionably goes to Barbadillo’s recently unveiled Versos 1891 Amontillado, which has just gone on sale for a truly jaw-dropping £8,000 a bottle.
And no, that wasn’t a typo. The wine comes from a unique cask in Sanlucar de Barrameda which belongs to the Barbadillo family. From it, just 100 numbered bottles have been taken.
See the suitably glossy promotional video produced by Barbadillo to mark the occasion:
It is self-evidently a historic, rare and precious liquid asset in all sorts of ways. The cask was originally a gift to Manuel Barbadillo by his father as a christening present. Even then it was described as an old Amontillado. Manuel who was the winemaker at Barbadillo for more than half a century was also a poet and philanthropist and became Mayor of Sanlucar . He died in 1986, but the sherry clearly lives on.
How does £8,000 Sherry taste?
When I tasted it on Tuesday night, it was powerful, layered, pungent, nutty, spicy, and gloriously fresh, replete with rich extract and extraordinary length. The aftertaste went on for literally minutes. Barbadillo’s chief winemaker, Montserrat Molina, told me that, ‘ultimately, sherries are the result of time and patience. It has been my privilege to care for this exquisite Amontillado throughout my twenty years here.’
A first for Sherry
This is the first time that the Sherry category has attempted such a rare, luxury offering. Barbadillo are following a lead set by some of the Port Houses including Taylor Fladgate and the Symington group which have recently launched similar products. However, this is the most expensive fortified offering by some margin.
The bottle has been dressed to kill in a handmade crystal glass decanter in the shape of an ink well – a reference to Manuel’s status as a poet. The decanter is also adorned with platinum paint on the collar and has Versos etched into the glass in gold leaf. The whole ensemble comes in a beautifully crafted leather box.
Where can you buy it?
Bottles can be purchased from Bodegas Barbadillo and a number of select fine wine merchants around the world. One of them includes Hedonism in London, which confirmed to Decanter.com that it expects to have its allocation of bottles in store and on sale by next week.
Barbadillo is still 100% family owned and is the largest producers of Manzanilla in the Sherry region. It also specializes in Palo Cortado and produces a number of Amontillados and Olorosos.