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Winner Details

Port


Not as many wines sent in as our tasters would have liked, but the quality was absolutely superlative

A message to the Port shippers and to the UK’s importers: send in more port! For a branch of the industry that repeatedly claims to be ‘targeting the on-trade’, it’s hard to know how it plans to do that if it isn’t prepared to put its wines in front of sommeliers at competitions like this. There were fewer ports sent in than Turkish red wines this year. Go figure…

And yet… and yet… for all that the submitters could do with a boot up the Tinta Barocca, this was one of the best-received sections of this year’s competition.

‘Excellent value all the way,’ said Gergely Barsi Szabó of Bread Street Kitchen.

‘I absolutely loved it,’ swooned Irina Atanasova of Fifteen London. ‘All the ports were well made, with good balance.’

‘There’s nowhere else can you get such power and complexity for your buck… except maybe sherry,’ added Ubiquitous Chip’s Richard Masterson.

The result: no Bronzes, and lots of Silvers and Gold-Listed wines. When the tasters liked a port, they really liked it. Failures tended to be wines that had sweetness, but not enough flavour behind to back it up. But most of the wines received some sort of positive feedback.

And this year we ended up with a much more balanced Gold List as a result, with two age-statemented tawnies, an LBV and a ridiculously well-priced vintage port that was drinking nicely now.

In fact, it’s hard to think of any other part of this year’s List that combines drinkability with such complexity at affordable prices.

The sweets and fortified section often turns up one wine that completely blows away the tasters, and this year it was the Krohn 1982 Colheita, a breathtakingly good wine at a ridiculously good price considering its age, complexity and length.

It picked up a Critic’s Choice and also our inaugural Caspar Auchterlonie Fortified Award, in memory of this competition’s port- and sherry-loving stalwart who passed away last year.

‘You could sell it by the glass,’ said Pollen Street Social’s Laure Patry. ‘It is a very good wine, offering a lot of complexity, at a good price for this level of quality.’

‘It was amazingly complex and should be listed simply for the quality of the wine. On the list, by the glass, this could sell and there could still be some decent margin, as the price for the quality is very good,’ added team leader Angela Reddin.

While prices shown on these pages relate to the size of bottle on sale, for judging purposes, prices were given for the 75cl equivalent volume.

‘The value of port constantly amazes me. It’s a hidden gem.’
Richard Masterson, The Ubiquitous Chip


‘Tawnies sell both by the bottle and by the glass – it was simply a question of choosing the best quality wine here for the price, a really well-balanced example, with smooth, rounded fruit and nuttier, figgier character, and these wines are also a bargain for the money.’
Michael Harrison, STK


‘The overall quality of the port section was very high. The wines were clean, with lovely fruit, and the tawnies and colheitas were absolutely terrific.’
Christine Parkinson, Hakkasan Group