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Home Winners > Winners 2015 > Other Fortified

Winner Details

Other Fortified

2015: Gold 8 Silver 6 Bronze 2 Commended 6
2014: Gold 3 Silver 7 Bronze 0 Commended 5

Despite its catch-all title, this has been one of the most interesting parts of the Sommelier Wine Awards for several years. But even by its own elevated standards, this was exceptional. Eight golds and deliriously happy tasters throughout, with amazing wines from all over Europe. And our first ever mead Gold! A great place to sex up your wine list with something quirky.

FOOTNOTE: Includes a wide variety, from Moscatels to Madeiras to liqueur Muscats. 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 Madeira flight was a fantastic way to finish a day’s tasting. Lots of intensity, flavours and spices.’ Laurent Richet MS, Restaurant Sat Bains

‘The sweet and fortified selection is going to be small, so it’s really critical to get it right.’ Julien Sahut, Wine Culture

‘If restaurants can push orange wine, surely they can try and sell more Madeira.’ Angela Reddin, team leader

‘I love mead, it’s a really good summer drink. We list them under beer and I pair it with ingredients like cheese and Jerusalem artichoke.’ Charles Pashby-Taylor, Dabbous

‘No customer has ever asked me for Madeira. Ever. But it’s something you can always talk about if you have it on the list.’ Laurent Richet MS, Restaurant Sat Bains

Star performer

What can we say about Justino’s four Golds and a Silver? It totally dominated the Madeira category.


Award winners

Found 22 wines

Other Fortified Wine

Gosnells, London Mead, NV, London , England

Gold medal winner

One of this year's surprises: the lure and potential of mead. 'Lovely nose, honeyed, floral and fresh, though lighter on the palate with a long finish,' said Caroline Brangé of 28°-50° Mayfair, with Charles Pashby-Taylor of Dabbous agreeing: ‘Fresh honey aromas, lovely and refreshing, with a nice gentle, happy finish.' 'Hawthorn flowers, banana and ginger spice,' said team leader Angela Reddin: 'Could pair with halloumi or lighter scallop dishes.' Indeed. 5.5% abv; £1.88/33cl

£1.88 Gosnells Beverages

Domaine Madeloc, Solera Hors d'Age, Banyuls, NV, Roussillon , France

Gold medal winner

Complexity, superb balance and a long finish gave this intriguing blend of Grenache Gris, Marsanne and Vermentino the edge. ‘Pale tawny colour, honeyed, nutty aromas and a roasted, butterscotch palate with an orange/kumquat lift,’ said team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW, concluding: ‘Very complex, very long and original.’ ‘Great prune nose with fresh herbs, plum and apricot complexity on a lengthy palate,’ agreed Gustavo Medina of Rex Whistler Restaurant. £25.50/50cl

£25.50 Boutinot

Justino's Madeira, Sercial 10 Years Old, NV, Madeira , Portugal

Gold medal winner

'Stunning' complexity and depth brings us our first Madeira Gold. ‘Mid-amber gold, with dried fruit and biscotti aromas,’ began team leader Angela Reddin: ‘Sharp bite in the mouth, supple flavours for such a mouthful; a clean and classic finish for a Sercial.’ ‘Mouthwatering, luscious, lingering and lasting, with great poise,’ added Chris Wood of Chelsea Vintners. Delicious. £22.20/75cl

£22.20 Liberty Wines

Justino's Madeira, Malvasia 10 Years Old, NV, Madeira , Portugal

Gold medal winner

Exceptional depth delivered Justino's its second Gold. ‘Nutty, dark ebony in colour, with dried dates, figs and other fruit, with sweet caramel notes,’ began Laurent Richet MS of Restaurant Sat Bains, with Chris Wood of Chelsea Vintners adding: ‘Incredible depth and breadth, love the toffee finish.' Team leader Angela Reddin noted: 'Touch of rancio character creeping in. Palate is saturated with umami notes.' £22.20/75cl

£22.20 Liberty Wines

Justino's Madeira, Colheita, 1996, Madeira , Portugal

Gold medal winner

Amber mahogany in the glass, this Madeira, showed its age beautifully. ‘Sweet but prickly, classic character, this is luscious, long and very stylish,’ said Chris Wood of Chelsea Vintners, with team leader Angela Reddin adding: 'Nutty, bitter chocolate, rancio happily in flow, with Brazil nut earthiness, good intensity and a softish finish. Match with bitter sweet chocolate desserts.' £24.32/75cl

£24.32 Liberty Wines

Justino's Madeira, Terrantez Vintage, 1978, Madeira , Portugal

Gold medal winner Critics Choice

One of the treats of 2015, and a worthy Caspar Auchterlonie Award winner. 'The nose of the Terrantez is sublime,' said Morgan VanderKamer of Stanley's Dublin, noting 'frangipane, crème caramel, apple pie, clove, figs, cinnamon, vanilla bean, white coffee bean, tart nectarines, apricot – it's endless!' ‘Old but feisty; has a mellow character, many spices, dried fruits and fantastic nuances,’ began team leader Angela Reddin, continuing: ‘Subtle, complex, intriguing.’ ‘Smooth palate full of spices and lovely Humidor cigar aromas,’ added Laurent Richet MS of Restaurant Sat Bains. £180/75cl

£180.00 Liberty Wines

Toro Albalá, Don PX, Convento Selección, 1955, Montilla-Moriles , Spain

Gold medal winner

Deep and incredibly luscious, with an almost endless finish, the complexity takes some beating. Caroline Brangé of 28°-50° Mayfair found ‘dried figs, herbal medicinal aromas with caramel on a creamy palate with hints of vermouth’, while Charles Pashby-Taylor of Dabbous noted: ‘Dried figs, chilli flakes, super-smooth, rich and ripe with notes of coffee and caramel.’ As Vincent Pastorello of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester said, 'Great on its own for the complexity, but would work very well with chocolate desserts.' £144.32/75cl


GCF Exclusif, Domaine Les Roumanis, Muscat de St-Jean-de-Minervois, 2012, Languedoc , France

Gold medal winner

Elegance and freshness took Roumanis to the top. ‘Clear, fresh Muscat style, with full-on tropical fruits and lychees in abundance,’ said a satisfied Sandro Lyhs of Oxo Tower Bar, with consultant Michael Harrison adding: ‘Restrained, with some sultana notes on a more open palate with good length.’ 'Intense, but also gentle. Great for fruit puddings,' said team leader Simon Woods. £5.80/50cl

£5.80 Peter Graham Wines , The Oxford Wine Company

Quady, Elysium, Black Muscat, 2013, California , USA

Silver medal winner

‘Blood orange nose, with a lovely smoky, intense palate that’s juicy and vibrant,’ began Andrea Fasan of La Petite Maison, with team leader Jade Koch adding: Cherry, blueberry, blackberry and Turkish delight notes; juicy with great acidity.’ £17.68/37.5cl

£17.68 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

d'Arenberg, The Nostalgia Rare, NV, McLaren Vale, South Australia , Australia

Silver medal winner

‘Lovely acidity, raisins and sultanas, burnt orange notes with a long finish and good balance,’ said Gustavo Medina of Rex Whistler Restaurant, with consultant Michael Harrison adding: ‘Nutty rancio, figs and prunes, with lovely, fresh, cleansing acidity.’ Match with cheese or pear and apple pie. £13.56/37.5cl

£13.56 Enotria&Coe

Justino's Madeira, Boal Vintage, 1978, Madeira , Portugal

Silver medal winner

‘Perfectly amazing, a wine for the ages,’ enthused Chris Wood of Chelsea Vintners, with team leader Angela Reddin saying: ‘Cigar box, earthy smokiness, with malty whisky barrel aromas.’ ‘Quite specific, there’s nothing like it,’ added Laurent Richet MS of Restaurant Sat Bains: ‘Vegetal, truffle, wet chalk mineral, loads of spices, even hints of artichoke.’ £150/75cl

£150.00 Liberty Wines

Bodegas Alvear, Fino CB, NV, Montilla-Moriles , Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Classic flor nose, clean and alluring for sherry lovers, with an underlying sweetness,’ said team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW. ‘Very yeasty with mineral notes, a little light at first but long and persistent,’ added consultant Michael Harrison. Fascinating tastes from an intriguing wine. £9.48/75cl

£9.48 Bibendum Wine

Santo Isidro de Pegões, Adega de Pegões, Moscatel de Setúbal, NV, Setúbal , Portugal

Silver medal winner

‘Pale rose pink, lovely Muscat, liquid sunshine nose,’ began enthused consultant Michael Harrison, continuing: ‘Crisp, fresh palate with some rose petal hints, medium acidity, and great by the glass.’ ‘Silky entry, vanilla, coconut and mahogany palate,’ agreed team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW. £7.79/75cl

£7.79 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Toro Albalá, Don PX, Gran Reserva, 1986, Montilla-Moriles , Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Defined, deep and piercing style, lightish but persistent and fruity,’ began Andrea Fasan of La Petite Maison, with team leader Jade Koch adding: ‘Balsamic, dark chocolate and raisin notes, with spicy cinnamon notes.’ £15.61/37.5cl


Skillogalee, Liqueur Muscat, NV, Clare Valley, South Australia , Australia

Bronze medal winner

‘Floral, herbal notes with rhododendron on the nose, followed by bright fruit, blueberry and pear on the palate,’ said Charles Pashby-Taylor of Dabbous, with team leader Jade Koch adding: ‘Ginger aromas, dry and salty palate, bright with good acid.’ £24.02/75cl

£24.02 Enotria&Coe

Quady, Starboard, Vintage, 2006, California , USA

Bronze medal winner

‘Very fresh fruit and warming alcohol, blackberry jam and plum/damson notes,’ began Sandro Lyhs of Oxo Tower Bar, adding: ‘Not too long, but intense and very pleasant. Pour on vanilla ice cream, or I would use in a Negroni!’ £17.44/75cl

£17.44 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Dandelion Vineyards, Legacy of the Barossa, Pedro Ximinéz, NV, Barossa Valley, South Australia , Australia

Commended medal winner


£11.50 Liberty Wines

All Saints, Rutherglen Muscat, NV, Victoria , Australia

Commended medal winner


£9.83 Cockburn & Campbell

Els Pyreneus, Maury, 2013, Roussillon , France

Commended medal winner


£9.88 Bibendum Wine

Quady, Starboard, Batch 88, NV, California , USA

Commended medal winner

Justino's Madeira, Boal 10 Years Old, NV, Madeira , Portugal

Commended medal winner

£22.20 Liberty Wines

Vignobles La Côterie, Pétale d'Or, Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, NV, Rhône , France

Commended medal winner


£5.20 Bottle Green