The Magic Numbers: the big one

01p

I was reminded this week of my piece on the magic numbers when I saw on a UK wine-merchant’s price list a bottle of La Bota de Amontillado Nº1, “Navazos”, December 2005, at a price of £480 (€630) (including VAT).  This wine – of which 600 bottles were released – was not initially put on open sale, but as you can see from the comment below the line, some bottles were available for €25,80. Indeed, when I caught up with Equipo Navazos their releases of the descendants of this wine were selling in the low €30s and I am told that a few years ago Clan Tabernario got their hands on a bottle of this for around that.

Of course a wine bottled in December 2005 is bound to appreciate in value, and recently there has been a surge in interest in bottle conditioned sherries (a topic to which I really need to give some thought) but it is a pretty good markup by any standards. Even more interestingly, La Bota de Amontillado Nº26, “Cinco Años Despues”, December 2010, which again was never released to the public, and of which only 150 were bottled, is the most expensive sherry on the list at £1200 (€1578).

26p

This average to poor blogger has never tried any of these wines, which are no doubt excellent to great. However, I don’t need to try them to be able to tell you where the gained value of the Navazos wines comes from: their unique character and scarcity (and I was going to suggest also their historic value).

Let’s put this in context, though: that £1200 (€1578) wouldn’t get this wine into the top 300 prices on this list – in fact it is equal 345th price on this (pretty awesome) list (although looking back some of those prices are for “assortments” of DRC, for those keen on multi bottle packs)  and less than a tenth of the £12,000 stickers on some of those very big beasts.

The wines of Jerez are still a very long way from their rightful place at the top of the pile, but I really believe that Equipo Navazos are showing the way forward. All hail to them and enjoy those 26s if you still have them fellas!

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19 thoughts on “The Magic Numbers: the big one

  1. Andrew,
    I have been looking at emails from 2006 and found one with a retail price of 25,80€ for a bottle of Equipo Navazos La Bota nº 1 de Amontillado. As you know, the project started within a group of friends and there was not such a thing as a suggested retail price, but some bottles that could not be allocated to the “club members” went to one of three initial commercial partners and there I found an email in which we sold a few bottles to a customer out of the “club”.

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  2. The fact that those wines are now absurdidly priced due to scarcity does not make them better wines. Amontillado nº 58 is just an excellent Amontillado with the quality of Equipo Navazos so I would take 12 bottles of the available nº 58 over 1 bottle of the scarce nº 1, no doubt.

    On top of that, nº 26 was never released to be sold. From Equipo Navazos website:

    “With this private edition Equipo Navazos wants to thank the support and acknowledge the contribution of the friends who walk with us on this fascinating trip. We are talking about very few bottles, none of which will be for sale.”

    So it was a complimentary bottle to the initial partners in the project and the fact that it is offered for sale in the market is a lack of respect from those that received it as a gift. But what do I know?

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    1. Point taken – the price tag doesn’t make them better wines, but it does show the value attributed by the market. Not saying that we should be limiting productions to 600 or 150 bottles but I do think differentiation will open up a lot of possibilities.

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    2. As for the complimentary bottle – we can’t know how this wine merchant got hold of it. Noone lives forever and they may have purchased a (pretty impressive) collection.

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  3. We understand Santiago’s point of view, but just FWIW we will not have the feeling of any lack of respect if anyone owning a bottle of release no. 26 would want to sell it. By our side no problem at all! The total bottling of this wine was actually 200 bottles (50cl), each one numbered, of which we intended to release a maximum of 150. Then we eventually gave a bit more than 100 units as presents, and kept the others in our own cellars. Since the actual availability of bottles was (and is) closer to 100 (including those already drunk), we thought that it would not be inaccurate to keep 150 as the reference number for production. But given this unexpected situation of disproportionate pricing, we’d rather make it clear that 200 is the total actual number of units made of this wine.

    Many thanks to the author/s of this blog for your ongoing support to the traditional wines of Andalusia. Well done!

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    1. Many thanks to you guys – it is a pleasure to share my appreciation for your wines and work. (And FWIW I don’t think it is disporportionate pricing – lottery ticket stuff, yes)

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  4. Back to the question of what #1 was like, let me tell you it was nothing short of mindblowing. I finished my last (of 6) just months ago and I must confess I’ve tasted many amontillados that were probably just as good if not better since then (thanks, no doubt, to EN’s later releases), but at that time #1 was absolutely fantastic. Above all, there was unbelievable definition and seemingly endless persistence.
    I remember sweatdrops cascading down my back as I polished off my first bottle watching FC Barcelona’s victory over Arsenal at that year’s Champion’s League finals, an absurdly hot month of May here… and the thrill of victory was literally nothing compared to the festival in my nose… :^)

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    1. I was just kidding – sounds fantastic. I love the way these wines have that definition and structure you mention. Some of them are pure elegance. I also enjoyed that particular CL final – but more because the gunners lost.

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      1. Yeah, sorry for the rather unappetizing sweaty ref. Got carried away by the descriptive mood… :^P

        (BTW one can do a lot worse than be a gunner on that Godforsaken island… ;^)

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  5. Only caught up on this now Andrew – really enjoyable read but very keen to know which website you found them on. If we are looking at the same website, I believe the wines are sourced from a private collector.

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