19th century Port among week’s top trades

An 1880 Port was one of last week’s top traded wines by value, with Viñedo Chadwick’s 2017 Seña the most traded label.

As reported by Liv-ex, the Chilean label led trade by value in the week of 20-26 November with a trade price of £770 per dozen bottles, boosting Chile’s regional share of trade to a new high.

Other top wines traded by value included more usual wines such as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s 2017 Romanée-Conti, 2015 Beychevelle and Dom Pérignon’s 2005 ‘Luminous’ Rosé.

But making a more surprise appearance in last week’s trade was Whitwham’s ‘Millennium’ 1880 Port.

This is a wine with “quite a story”, as Liv-ex noted. The wine was discovered by winemaker Cristiano van Zeller in 1999. He had been invited to look around a winery in Regua that was closing after the death of its last owner.

Initially interested in the stone lagares at the winery when asked if he would like any old stock he made an incredible discovery.

Tucked away at the back of the winery (as all such discoveries-in-waiting are) he found three 20,000 litre casks filled with wine dating to 1880.

Two had evaporated away completely but one was still half full. Van Zeller acquired the remaining wine and wanted to bottle it as a 100-year-old (119-year-old technically) wine for the Millennium.

The Port Wine Institute however said it could only be bottled as ‘over 40-years-old’ so a compromise was made and the wine was bottled as ‘Millennium Port’ instead in 2002 by Niepoort, who added a small amount of 1945 vintage to round out the bottling.

The wine was recently re-evaluated by Jancis Robinson MW, which was likely the cause of last week’s sudden burst of activity. She rated it 18/20 saying it was “super racy and fresh” and with “still lots of life” left in it.

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