More wealth to come, as we head to Portugal to find the most expensive ports in the world.

© Graham’s
| Graham’s ultra-rare Ne Oublie Tawny tops our list of most expensive Ports.

Economic theory says that as supply gets tight, prices go up, but no one seems to have explained this to Port producers.

The port is in good general condition. A recent string of reported vintages has helped, but more consumers seem to be re-engaging with Port than ever before. However, while at the top of the range, Port experienced a restriction in supply, accompanied by a real drop in prices.

Search data for Port shows that interest has grown over the past decade and what growers will appreciate is that search demand is increasing throughout the year, not just at Christmas, which was traditionally when Port searches and sales spiked.

Compared to other great fortified wines, Port flies. Sherry is moribund as the search for Madeira stagnates, but Port seems to be getting better and better. Interestingly, it’s not just Vintage Port leading the charge either. While vintage wines are often seen as the pinnacle of the appellation, it is to Tawny Port that most of the money is drawn.

Before summing up our list of the most expensive Ports – the first time we’ve done this, by the way – we should probably explain what we mean when we say “more expensive” in relation to wine.

We calculate a global average price per wine, based on the actual prices charged across the thousands of retail wine lists we monitor globally. We do not take into account the price claims (or sales, for that matter) of the producers nor those of the various wine representative bodies; we measure the data we can trust – our own.

The most expensive ports in the world on Wine-Searcher:

Taylor’s probably deserves a mention for consistency on this list, but the most interesting thing is the prices themselves.

Usually in these articles we tend to talk about the evolution of wines over time, but Port seems to go the other way. Only two of the wines listed above have actually risen in price, and one of them only managed to push up its average global retail price a little over the past decade.

The Taylor Fladgate Scion had an average retail price of $3248, and 10 years later it managed to climb to $3512. The other whose price has risen is Niepoort wine, which had an average price of $394 in 2012 and currently sits at $1,499, an impressive level of appreciation. However, a sharp rise in early 2013 saw its average retail price soar to over $2,000, and it never recovered to such highs.

All other wines on the list now have lower average retail prices than when they were released (or in 2012 for wines with such long pedigrees). Curiously, almost all of the wines listed above have also seen a reduction in the number of offers from retailers, meaning Port is achieving the rare feat of becoming harder to find and more affordable.

So much for the economy; pass the Port.

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