Winner Details


2014: Gold: 3; Silver: 7; Bronze: 1; Commended: 4
2013: Gold: 2; Silver: 6; Bronze: 1
Must-list index: 60%
Overall performance SWA 2014: C-

The idea of the Hoxton hipster with his beard, black-rimmed glasses and thumbed copy of The Outsider popping into his local sherry bar for a glass of artisanal fino is a world away from Downton Abbey, but it fits, nonetheless.

Incredible though it is to believe, sherry is finally, after 40 years of trend exile, having its moment in the sun once more. And though there were more sherries than ever before sent into SWA this year, there were not, perhaps, as many as we might have expected, given that it’s supposedly such a hot category.

Our tasters liked what they found, but wished (as so often before) that there had been a bit more. However, there was plenty to admire – 11 medals is comfortably a record for the category. But while the drink’s fans were happy to speak in general terms about its ability to offer Crufts-winning pedigree at Battersea Dogs Home prices, there wasn’t a great deal of evidence of amazing value for money here.

There were some well-priced Silvers in this year’s competition, but all three Golds went to Fernando de Castilla, which enjoys a level of overweaning dominance not normally seen outside the Scottish Premier League.

This was the winery’s eighth sherry Gold in three years, and while no one could argue with the superlative quality, its takeover of the Gold List left us with a sherry selection that would be out of the reach of most members of the public. Though probably not our Hoxton hipster…

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

‘Sherry is one of the world’s most distinctive wines, but you can still get it on the list fairly cheaply.’ Mark Perlaki, Hotel du Vin Harrogate

‘These wines really come into their own with food so it is up to you to present them to the customer in this context and then you can generate a lot of interest.’ Lionel Periner, The Lucky Onion

‘Sherry is getting fashionable, but we are not seeing it in our restaurant. I think it’s still more for bigger cities and London in particular.’ Romain Bourger, The Vineyard at Stockcross