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Winner Details

Port


2014: Gold: 3; Silver: 4; Bronze: 0; Commended: 1
2013: Gold: 5; Silver: 4; Bronze: 0
Must-list index:  90%
Overall performance SWA 2014: D+


Port is a bit like the late, great Kenneth Williams. It’s hugely popular – fun, versatile and loved by everyone from grannies to cigar-toting City types, yet it seems to be riddled with self-doubt and, on this evidence, possibly even self-loathing.

How else to explain that year after year it remains one of the smallest parts of the Sommelier Wine Awards? While areas like Prosecco, English fizz and even Pinotage are showing a puppyish desire to court the on-trade, the Douro shippers seem to have lost interest, given up, or assumed that they have nothing to prove.

It’s a double shame, because there is clearly lots of great stuff out there. ‘There were a lot of good expressions in our flight, and some good price ratios for the quality,’ said Galvin Restaurants’ Joao Ribeiro.

Nowhere was this better epitomised than in the terrific quality of our Gold-Listed wines. Two of them continued what seems to be a general trend in this competition to reward tawny styles of port ahead of red ones, while the Lágrima was our first-ever white Gold.

‘[The 2001 Colheita] was very, very good – something you could put on at £10 a glass, which would make you a tidy return. [The 1995] didn’t need food, just a big fat cigar to round off the meal. The white would be very versatile as an aperitif or with food, and you would get a very good return having this on at a reasonable price by the glass,’ explained Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn.

Almost uniquely in this year’s competition, however, there’s a feeling of regret here – of a part of the list that is somewhat lacking. No LBV, no Reserve, no Vintage… Sadly, our teams can’t pick wines if they aren’t there. But don’t blame us, talk to the shippers.

FOOTNOTE 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.

 

From the Tasting Teams


‘The two tawnies were fantastic quality wines and very typical; a great definition of the style.’ Simon Cassina, consultant

‘To sell these wines it is important to work with the chef and pastry chef, to ensure that the wines work with the desserts.’ Joao Ribeiro, Galvin Restaurants