“Sit back and pour yourself a glass. Oh, and you may want to have your cheque book at the ready before you do.”
Keep in mind, these may be pricey, but they are not even close to the high end range for French wine.
1. Teso La Monja, Toro
Some long-standing contenders are in the ring to stay, but… DING DING! The numero uno is a new entry – And this Toro is showing its horns. A Tempranillo from Toro (the Spanish word for bull) has taken the number one spot as the most expensive wine in Spain.
Robust and red, Teso La Monja is made from century-old pre-phylloxera vines. Non-grafted roots have been digging deep into loamy soils for decades to produce concentrated, mineral-rich berries.
Teso La Monja was founded in 2007 by the Eguren family, who are by no means new to winemaking. Marcos and Miquel Eguren have endeavored for almost two decades to transform and highlight the potential of Toro in the Castilla y Leon region and have had some previous success. Their first effort in 1998 was Bodega Numanthia Termes (now owned by LVMH), which scored a big 100 points from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate in 2004.
The Eguren’s second time in the Toro ring has proven successful with a growing price tag for Teso La Monja. It averages $1041 a bottle (I just fainted), unseating Dominio de Pingus as Spain’s most consistently expensive wine. What’s the translation for ‘OUCH’ in Spanish again?
2. Dominio de Pingus, Ribera del Duero
The runner-up on Spain’s most expensive wines is not new to placing at the top and doesn’t plan on changing that. Dominio de Pingus is a wine lover’s favorite for a reason: we’re talking about low-yielding Tempranillo again, but this time from the esteemed wine region of Ribera del Duero.
See if you can follow: Peter Sisseck, the owner of Dominio de Pingus, is from Denmark, studied winemaking in Bordeaux, and then tested his craft in Spain. His first release of Dominio de Pingus – so-called for his childhood nickname – in 1995 was a sensation, and Robert Parker declared it “one of the greatest and most exciting wines I have ever tasted.”
With praise like that, your wallet better be extra large to get a taste. It’s been more than 20 years since Pingus’ induction to Parker’s high-rollers club and the weighty price tag for a bottle is steadfast, averaging $813 a bottle.
3. Alvaro Palacios L’Ermita Velles Vinyes, Priorat DOCa
Black, volcanic llicorella soil is so hot right now – in Priorat, that is. Ancient Garnacha vines at Alvaro Palacios’ L’Ermita vineyard are heating up and holding on to the number three spot.
Alvaro Palacios is the poster child for Priorat, and has the undisputed best vineyard land in the region to match. If that’s not enough, he’s also in charge of pre-phylloxera Garnacha vines that were planted between 1900 and 1940. There’s no misguidance on this wine label – the wine is indeed “Velles Vinyes”, or old vines.
Since the 1990s, Palacios has brought Priorat to prominence, and vintage after vintage he delivers. But let’s not forget his impressive background. Palacios comes from a respected winemaking family in Rioja Baja, studied enology in Bordeaux, and got some handy work experience at Petrus, so it’s fair to say he knows what he’s doing.
Critical praise for L’Ermita has been constant since 1995, and the average price of $672 reflects that.
4. Descendientes de J. Palacios La Faraona, Bierzo
Bierzo is in the eye of the beholder, and that beholder is Alvaro Palacios, again. Palacios must be attracted to steep hillside vineyards, because after establishing worldwide recognition for his Priorat Garnacha, he moved on in 1999 to discover more incredibly steep land in Bierzo. I’m guessing this guy likes climbing!
Finding distinctive terroir is the name of the winemaking game, and Palacios is good at it. After teaming up with his Château Margaux-trained nephew, Ricardo Perez, the two sought out Bierzo’s best and oldest vineyards, finding success with a single parcel of 65-year-old Mencía vines from the La Faraona vineyard. This wine lands the number four spot on Spain’s Most Expensive list, with an average price of $653, down one place from the 2013 list.
If you want a taste of the world’s most expensive Mencía, don’t wait too long to secure a bottle – a little under two barrels of this wine is produced each vintage.
© Bodegas Valduero |
5. And last but not least – Bodegas Valduero 12 Años Gran Reserva Especial, Ribera del Duero
The number five spot goes to a newbie to Spain’s most expensive list, but by no means is it a new wine. Bodegas Valduero’s Gran Reserva Tempranillo spends four years in six different types of oak barrel, before then collecting dust in bottle for another eight years. Add those years of aging together and – you’ve got it – 12 Años.
The Garcia family spotted serious potential in Ribera del Duero before it became internationally recognized and, in 1984, their bodega was the sixth registered winery in the region. More than 25 years later, the Garcias own prime vineyard real estate and produce a wide range of wines, but they know what ruby-colored gems to hold back from consumers for just the right amount of time. And sitting on inventory isn’t all bad when a bottle of 12 Años goes for an average price of $464.
“All of that has made me thirsty… poor, but still thirsty”
Information Courtesy of the wonderful Wine Searcher.com