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Home Winners > Winners 2016 > Other Fortified

Winner Details

Other Fortified

2016 Gold: 3 Silver: 7 Bronze: 5 Commended: 9
2015 Gold: 8 Silver: 6 Bronze: 2 Commended: 6 

Ever worried that your wine list is a bit, well, boring? That other lists are having more fun than you are? That there could be amazing ways to sex things up a bit if only you knew how?

Well, the Other Fortified section acts like The Joy of Sex did for bored middle-aged couples in the 1970s. With its explosive mixture of the exotic, the under-rated and the unexpected, it’s been one of the best places to go for a bit of palate titillation in this competition for several years.

Madeira, as so often of late, picked up the majority of the medals, with a superb range of styles and prices, almost all between £20 and £30. It was good to see last year’s Fortified Wine Producer of the Year superstar, Justino’s, back with other examples from its range, and picking up high medals. Also heartening to welcome a Sommelier Wine Awards newcomer into the mix, with D’Oliveiras taking two of the three places on our Gold List.

Yet arguably the most eye-catching entry here was the Diren Mahlep – an exotically sultry Turkish beauty that belly-danced its way to the front of our tasters’ imaginations with a combination of sweet, sour and spicy moves that left most of them priapic. Taster after taster who tried it was intrigued, stimulated and smitten. It was a fitting winner of this year’s Caspar Auchterlonie Fortified Critics' Choice Trophy.

By the glass, with food, over ice… it’s an extraordinary drop at a steal of a price. If you don’t think something like that can add a bit of va-va-voom to your wine list’s libido, then, frankly, you are dead from the waist down.


‘[The Diren Mahlep] had the acidity of Madeira and an amazing price point. You can imagine selling that by the glass…’ Timothy Connor, Bread Street Kitchen

‘It’s tough to sell a bottle of Madeira. But you can have a bottle open for a year and it’s not going to go bad, so why not put it on by the glass?’ Andrés Ituarte, Avenue Restaurant

‘Nobody asks me for Madeira.’ Dominique Raclin, consultant sommelier

‘The fortified Muscats were a lovely way to finish the day. They all had a lot of beauty, and they’re great with food. Savoury, sweet, spicy and rich… they’re very versatile.’ Tamas Czinki, Northcote

“We do a lot of tasting menus, and I always try to use eclectic things on there that people don’t know very well. Wines like this would be perfect.” Michael Fiducia, Drake’s Restaurant

“We don’t see enough Madeira on restaurant menus, we should see a lot more.” Ignacio Campos, Hawksmoor Seven Dials

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.

Award winners

Found 24 wines

Other Fortified Wine

D'Oliveiras, Madeira, Malvasia, 1996, Madeira , Portugal

Gold medal winner

'Brilliant!' said Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn of D'Oliveiras' second Gold noting: 'Wonderful flavours, with liquorice, Turkish delight, Moroccan markets. This is both sweet and dry, luscious and controlled, with very fine tangerine notes.' 'Hazelnut and almond skin on the nose, bright acids on a very focused palate, showing brown sugar, chocolate and coffee notes with a balanced, lengthy finish,' said Andrés Ituarte of Avenue Restaurant. 'Smoky aromatics with lime juice, lemon curd and orange marmalade. Full of youth,' added team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW. £24.30/75cl

£24.30 Bovey Wines

D'Oliveiras, Madeira, Verdelho, 1986, Madeira , Portugal

Gold medal winner

'Perfect', 'lovely', 'very complex' – just some of the descriptors illustrating how D'Oliveiras won one of its pair of Golds. Team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW highlighted its 'glorious aromatics and palate alive with limes, vanilla, brown sugar and passion fruit', while Ignacio Campos of Hawksmoor Seven Dials found complex notes of 'honey roasted nuts, chocolate and coffee, fennel and caramel with anis seed', and Lukasz Walkowiak of Oxo Tower noted: 'The palate is very rich, with lots of figs and spices, but still very fresh.' £40/75cl

£40.00 Bovey Wines

Diren, Mahlep, 2014, Tokat , Turkey

Gold medal winner Critics Choice

Exotic and unusual, this captivated from the start, giving Diren's unusual wine not just Gold, but this year's Caspar Auchterlonie Fortified Critics' Choice Trophy. 'It's like Christmas,' said team leader Jade Koch, 'plenty of juicy cherries and cinnamon.' Indeed, all sorts of flavours combine on a very complex palate, with sour black cherry and hazelnut to the fore, sweetness and savoury characters, and an extremely long, deep and multi-faceted finish. 'Dried figs, pear and peach notes, sweet and lively with a very good finish,' said Carlos Ferreira of The Sign of the Don, while Chris Wood of Chelsea Vintners felt it was 'extremely good value, and a great alternative' on any list'. Consider serving chilled. £5.99/50cl

£5.99 Taste Turkey

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

Silver medal winner

'Starts shy but grows on you. Subtle beginning, but develops to a tropical richness,' said team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW. 'Lovely almondy nose, caramel palate, super-fresh and pleasing,' agreed Ignacio Campos of Hawksmoor Seven Dials. £22.07/75cl

£22.07 Liberty Wines

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

Silver medal winner

'Rich body. Really rich body, focused, delicious and great value,' began Andrés Ituarte of Avenue Restaurant, with Ignacio Campos of Hawksmoor Seven Dials noting: 'Pistachio, fennel seed, walnut and toffee with candied nuts on a savoury, coffee bean finish.' £24.32/75cl

£24.32 Liberty Wines

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

Silver medal winner

'A little muted on the nose, but lots of crème brûlée and toffee flavours on the palate, with a long finish,' began Andrés Ituarte of Avenue Restaurant, while Ignacio Campos of Hawksmoor Seven Dials enjoyed its 'pistachio, candied nut, almond nose and caramel, roasted nut, savoury richness and freshness on the palate'. £22.07/75cl

£22.07 Liberty Wines

Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Morris, Cellar One, Topaque, NV, Victoria , Australia

Silver medal winner

'Rusty nail colour, with candied fruit, treacle and Christmas cake aromas, then more dried fruits on the palate. Would be great with a strong blue cheese,' suggested Michael Fiducia of Drake's Restaurant, while team leader Jade Koch applauded the 'lovely raisin character, spice and heat' of this lengthy wine, with its prune and toffee notes. £14.31/50cl

£14.31 Bibendum Wine

Justino's, Madeira, Colheita, 1999, Madeira , Portugal

Silver medal winner

'Vivid and youthful, showing caramel, toffee, lime sorbet characters, superbly complex with a savoury-salty finish,' said team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW, while Andrés Ituarte of Avenue Restaurant noted its 'great focus, warm but delicious style with big treacle and brown sugar notes, cinnamon and nutmeg on the finish'. £22.25/75cl

£22.25 Liberty Wines

José Maria da Fonseca, Alambre, Moscatel de Setúbal 20 Years Old, NV, Setúbal , Portugal

Silver medal winner

'Dried nuts, orange peel and wonderful oxidative aromas, with oloroso notes, more nuts, dried fruits and coffee complexity on the palate. It goes on for ever,' said team leader Tom Forrest, with Portland's James Fryer adding: 'A great way to round off a day!' 'So fresh, with its elegant, dry, pithy presence and range of orange and citrus flavours,' agreed fellow team leader Jade Koch. £44.31/50cl

£44.31 Moreno Wines

Henriques & Henriques, H&H, Madeira, Single Harvest, Boal, 2000, Madeira , Portugal

Silver medal winner

'Smoky, roasted, nutty style, original and well balanced, retaining its freshness despite all that sugar, with a nutty, raisined finish,' said team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW. 'Fennel, walnut, green apple on the nose, sweet and lush yet super-fresh,' added Ignacio Campos of Hawksmoor Seven Dials. £25.21/75cl

£25.21 Mentzendorff & Co

Quady, Vya, Sweet Vermouth, NV, California , USA

Bronze medal winner

'Very spice-driven, with clove, pepper and green pepper notes,' said team leader Laura Rhys MS, with Ian Howard of The White Hart Inn at Lydgate confirming: 'Cloves, cinnamon, warm spices with good alcohol balance.' £16.10/75cl

£16.10 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

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

Bronze medal winner

'Lavender florals on the nose, with fleshy blueberries and peppery notes on the palate,' began team leader Jade Koch, continuing: 'Really intriguing and lengthy, with Turkish delight aromatic characters, yet it's refreshing and bright.' 'Brûlée and poached pear palate, not too heavy,' added Vinoteca's Charlie Young. £24.02/75cl

£24.02 Enotria&Coe

Quady, Elysium, Black Muscat, 2014, California , USA

Bronze medal winner

'Juicy, tart, with refreshing clean acidity and viscous, like jellied fruits,' began team leader Jade Koch, while Vinoteca's Charlie Young found it 'happy, very sweet but super-fresh with rose petal notes'. £8.99/37.5cl

£8.99 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Casa Ermelinda Freitas, Moscatel de Setúbal, NV, Setúbal , Portugal

Bronze medal winner

Consultant Luciana Girotto-Beckett enjoyed its 'liquorice, incense, waxy, mature apricot aromas and Mediterranean rosemary and pistachio' character, while Vinoteca's Charlie Young declared simply: 'A really useable Moscatel de Setúbal'. £7.25/75cl

£7.25 Atlantico UK

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

Bronze medal winner

Tamas Czinki of Northcote highlighted some 'very chocolatey aromas for a Muscat, with elderflower and grapey notes, honey and melon on the palate', while Portland's James Fryer found 'pear and honeysuckle florals, and sappy musk notes on the palate'. £5.25/50cl

£5.25 GCF Exclusif , Cranbrook Wines , Walker's Wines

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

Commended medal winner

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£22.07 Liberty Wines

Quady, Essensia, Orange Muscat, 2014, California , USA

Commended medal winner

Chambers Rosewood, Old Vine Muscat, NV, Rutherglen , Australia

Commended medal winner

£16.30 Liberty Wines

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

Commended medal winner

Alvear, Solera 1927, Pedro Ximénez, NV, Montilla-Moriles , Spain

Commended medal winner

£11.32 Bibendum Wine

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

Commended medal winner

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

Commended medal winner

£22.07 Liberty Wines

All Saints Estate, Rutherglen Muscat, NV, Victoria , Australia

Commended medal winner

Henriques & Henriques, H&H, Madeira, Verdelho 15 Years Old, NV, Madeira , Portugal

Commended medal winner