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Winner Details

Port

2016 Gold: 6 Silver: 10 Bronze: 7 Commended: 9
2015 Gold: 5 Silver: 10 Bronze: 5 Commended: 6

With such a wide spread of styles available, the Port section in the Sommelier Wine Awards can vary hugely from year to year. But this year, undoubtedly, was the best so far. We had a truly stimulating selection of wines sent in, from aged whites to LBV and vintage to Colheita and tawny, and our tasters enjoyed sifting through it all.

Sure, the prices weren’t necessarily low per se, but for the age of the wines in question, and the quality and length of finish, at times the value for money was astonishing – and our judges’ feedback at times moved into the rhapsodic. There’s plenty of good stuff to look at here, whoever your clientele, and wherever your venue.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘LBV is a growing category and quite food-friendly – rich fruit desserts or chocolate desserts – and they’re often more approachable than vintage port.’ Tom Forrest, team leader

‘There were some truly lovely examples of tawny and Colheita ports at all price ranges. Stylistically I preferred the 20-year-olds to the 10-year-olds – they were just better integrated and delivered more for the money. That was the sweet spot.’ Laura Rhys MS, team leader

‘Price isn’t really an issue. I can sell glasses of these for £15. People are less price sensitive for dessert wines than they are for dry wines.’ Gabriele Galuppo, Theo Randall at The InterContinental

‘A very old vintage is easy to sell, a very young vintage is not so easy.’ Carlos Ferreira, The Sign of the Don

‘You could even use [the Ferreira 10 year old tawny] as the vermouth substitute in a negroni. That could be really interesting.’ Gabriele Galuppo, Theo Randall

‘The white ports were my favourite flight of the day. Amazing rare and complex wines. Flavours like dried peach to grappa to Armagnac to marmalade.’ Xabier Alvarez-Valdés, Trangallán

“The highlight of the day. White port is completely neglected, but it’s the most useful in terms of food matching. These could work with cheese, and the older ones would be a very good alternative to a brandy.” Matthieu Longuère MS, Le Cordon Bleu

“The Colheitas were fabulous. Pricey, but never-ending in the mouth and really elegant.’ Gabriele Galuppo, Theo Randall at The InterContinental

STAR PERFORMER

Congratulations to Sogevinus for carrying off a pair of Golds for its inspiring Colheita ports.

Award winners

Found 32 wines

Port

Sogrape, Sandeman, The Pioneer, Vintage Port, 2000, Douro , Portugal

Gold medal winner

‘Opulent’ was the word most often used to describe this tobacco-scented red- and black-fruit-infused Gold winner. ‘Rich plums with black cherries,’ said Mark Dorber of The Anchor at Walberswick, while Sunaina Sethi of JKS Restaurants picked up the ‘sweet spice, deep, rich, rounded fruits, and the elegant, rounded palate, with its broad shoulders’. A delight. £43.66/75cl

£43.66 Sogrape UK

Quinta do Crasto, Late Bottled Vintage, 2011, Douro , Portugal

Gold medal winner By the glass

A worthy winner of a By The Glass Trophy, team leader Angela Reddin enjoyed 'warm spices with oodles of black fruit, along with notes of orange zest, good tannins and a long, clean finish', while Spring's Peter McDaid highlighted its 'delicate spiced plum and allspice with nicely integrated oak' characters. 'Such a progressive port, with its nice, delicate finish,' agreed Bart Michalewicz of Park Chinois. £12.63/75cl

£12.63 Enotria&Coe

Quinta do Vallado, 10 Year Old Tawny, NV, Douro , Portugal

Gold medal winner

Richness and power, plushness and complexity gave Quinta do Vallado Gold. 'Great evolved colour, rich and intense on the nose with raisin and cherry notes, a richly fruity and complex palate with a never-ending aftertaste,' said an impressed Gabriele Galuppo of Theo Randall at the InterContinental. 'Well-rounded with nutty notes,' said consultant Sumita Sarma, adding: 'Delicate yet expressive, voluptuous and opulent.' £20.40/50cl

£20.40 Bibendum Wine

Sogevinus, Kopke, Colheita, 1984, Douro , Portugal

Gold medal winner Critics Choice

Coffe, mocha, complex rancio-like flavours – the list of descriptors is seemingly endless. No wonder this Colheita scored a Critics' Choice Trophy. 'Delicious and elegant, showing ripe, rich, full, complex and nutty character with lovely spices on the finish,' said team leader Laura Rhys MS, with consultant Sumita Sarma saying ‘this is full of life, with a memorable finesse’, and Gabriele Galuppo of Theo Randall at the InterContinental adding simply: 'Never-ending.' £85/75cl

£85.00 Hayward Bros

Sogevinus, Barros, Colheita, 1996, Douro , Portugal

Gold medal winner

The complete package – rancio notes and nutty hints alongside mocha coffee flavours helped Sogevinus secure its first Colheita Gold. Team leader Laura Rhys MS highlighted the 'punchy fruit aromas and full, rich palate with beautiful complexity' of this wine, while Alex Cooper of Haymarket Hotel noted its 'elegant, dried apricot character', and consultant Sumita Sarma picked out the 'beautifully high acidity', calling it 'balanced and harmonious, with its almond, pistachio and dark chocolate finish.' £21.16/75cl

£21.16 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Alves de Sousa, Quinta da Gaivosa, 10 Year Old Tawny, NV, Douro , Portugal

Gold medal winner

Complexity, powerful aromatics and a lengthy finish took Quinta da Gaivosa to the Gold enclosure. 'A less oxidative, more fruit-driven style, different but with nice concentration and balance,' began team leader Laura Rhys MS, adding: 'Juicy, rich fruit and sweet mincemeat aromas, bold on the palate with sweet spice character.' 'There's a wide spectrum of flavours, both baked and dried, and earthy, nutty notes alongside mouthwatering acidity,' said consultant Sumita Sarma. £17.68/75cl

£17.68 Atlantico UK , Top Selection

Sogevinus, Cálem, Late Bottled Vintage, 2011, Douro , Portugal

Silver medal winner

'An interesting style, with Middle Eastern spices, cumin and sappy black olive notes on the nose, followed by smoke and ash, sweet baking spices with sweet berry fruit on the palate,' found Peter McDaid of Spring. £11.12/75cl

£11.12 Amathus

Sogrape, Ferreira, Dona Antónia, Reserva White Port, NV, Douro , Portugal

Silver medal winner

'Good complexity with raisins and dried fruit notes, and well-integrated alcohol,' said Enikő Heidenwolf of 67 Pall Mall, while team leader Martin Lam found it 'a more rich and rounded style with good spicy notes and sweet fruit', and Greg Lambert of Galvin La Chapelle noted 'bruised apple and quince, sweetness and spices'. £8.98/75cl

£8.98 Sogrape UK

Sogevinus, Kopke, 30 Year Old White Port, NV, Douro , Portugal

Silver medal winner

'Lemon marmalade notes, finely balanced spirits, complex and long with an ever-changing aftertaste,' said Trangallán's Xabier Álvarez-Valdés, with Matthieu Longuère MS of Le Cordon Bleu adding: 'Hazelnut, spices, vanilla, good rancio notes, concentrated and spicy on the palate with a toasty quality to the finish.' £29.85/37.5cl

£29.85 Hayward Bros

Quinta do Noval, Unfiltered, Late Bottled Vintage, 2009, Douro , Portugal

Silver medal winner

Team leader Angela Reddin noted 'good balance in a lighter style' along with 'lots of red fruit characters, some shaved chocolate notes and dried herbs on the palate', while fellow team leader Tom Forrest found 'squashy fruits with black pepper spice'. £14.75/75cl

£14.75 González Byass

Sogrape, Ferreira, Quinta do Porto, 10 Year Old Tawny, NV, Douro , Portugal

Silver medal winner

'Dried fruit aromas, bold on the palate, elegant with sweet spice notes,' began team leader Laura Rhys MS, with Alex Cooper of Haymarket Hotel highlighting its 'very berry style, juicy with clove spice notes', and consultant Sumita Sarma commenting: 'Figs, raisins, prunes and stone fruits coupled with mouthwaterig acidity – an elegant expression of 10 year old.' £12.77/75cl

£12.77 Sogrape UK

Quinta & Vineyard Bottlers, Krohn, Lagrima, White Port, NV, Douro , Portugal

Silver medal winner

'Fresh and dried fruits with nutty overtones, this shows great balance between sugar and alcohol, with a well-integrated, lengthy finish,' said Enikő Heidenwolf of 67 Pall Mall. 'Ethereal, lovely perfume, complex and direct fruit,' added Matthieu Longuère MS of Le Cordon Bleu. £9.15/75cl

£9.15 Boutinot

Sogrape, Sandeman, Founders Reserve, NV, Douro , Portugal

Silver medal winner

'A lovely juicy, plummy wine with a good balance,' said Mark Dorber of The Anchor at Walberswick, while team leader Tom Forrest said: 'Berry notes on a relatively shy nose, with some leathery and vegetal notes, followed by sweet red and black fruits on the palate with light black pepper notes.' £8.66/75cl

£8.66 Sogrape UK

Sogrape, Sandeman, Quinta do Seixo, Vintage Port, 2013, Douro , Portugal

Silver medal winner

While recognised as youthful, the judges appreciated this wine's potential. 'Intense, crushed black fruit notes on the nose,' said team leader Angela Reddin, while Mark Dorber of The Anchor at Walberswick noted: 'Intensely sweet, nice spice, well integrated – good wine.' £16.06/75cl

£16.06 Sogrape UK

Sogrape, Sandeman, The Word, Vintage Port, 2000, Douro , Portugal

Silver medal winner

'Smooth and spicy, leather with dried fruits and good balance between fruit and alcohol,' said Carlos Ferreira of The Sign of the Don, with Mahesh Nair of Charlotte Street Hotel finding it 'packed with flavour, deep and rich fruit and spice. A great wine.' £43.66/75cl

£43.66 Sogrape UK

Sogrape, Sandeman, The Spirit, Vintage Port, 2000, Douro , Portugal

Silver medal winner

‘Floral and spicy, with red jammy fruits, soft tannins and integrated notes of peppery spice on the finish,’ said team leader Tom Forrest, while Mark Dorber of The Anchor at Walberswick felt this was ‘heady and inviting, with plum and marzipan notes, and a velvet texture on the palate. Fresh and delicious.’ £43.66/75cl

£43.66 Sogrape UK

Sogrape, Ferreira, White Port, NV, Douro , Portugal

Bronze medal winner

Matthieu Longuère MS of Le Cordon Bleu found this 'nutty, spicy and honeyed' on the nose and 'spicy and well balanced with a lovely aniseed note on the finish', while Xabier Álvarez-Valdés of Trangallán noted 'quince and medicinal notes on a warm, oxidative style, very interesting'. £7.43/75cl

£7.43 Sogrape UK

Sogevinus, Kopke, 10 Year Old White Port, NV, Douro , Portugal

Bronze medal winner

Xabier Álvarez-Valdés of Trangallán was struck by this wine's 'super-elegant nose and fruity sweetness with such a long finish', adding simply: 'Special.' 'Super-nutty with a hint of putty. A different, drier style with almond notes,' said team leader Martin Lam. £14.05/37.5cl

£14.05 Hayward Bros

Sogevinus, Cálem, 20 Year Old Tawny, NV, Douro , Portugal

Bronze medal winner

'Prunes and caramel with peach stone and sweet spice notes on the nose,' began team leader Laura Rhys MS, going on: 'Elegant, though the alcohol is noticeable, but lovely notes of candied peel on the finish.' £22.17/75cl

£22.17 Amathus

Alves de Sousa, Quinta da Gaivosa, 10 Year Old White Port, NV, Douro , Portugal

Bronze medal winner

'Really good, with lifted, complex aromas of nuts, raisins and pepper,' began team leader Martin Lam, while Matthieu Longuère MS of Le Cordon Bleu found it 'juicy and concentrated, lively and ripe on the palate with good complexity and peachy, floral elegance'. £16.10/50cl

£16.10 Atlantico UK , Top Selection

Sogrape, Ferreira, Duque de Bragança, 20 Year Old Tawny, NV, Douro , Portugal

Bronze medal winner

'A pronounced nose, good balance of fruit and sweet spice with hints of cinnamon and star anise, good vibrancy and freshness, too,' said Alex Cooper of Haymarket Hotel, with team leader Laura Rhys MS agreeing: 'Lovely, elegant and juicy with citrus peel, dried fruit and molasses notes.' £21.11/75cl

£21.11 Sogrape UK

Sogrape, Sandeman, 20 Year Old Tawny, NV, Douro , Portugal

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Laura Rhys MS enjoyed its 'gorgeous fruit, complex lifted palate and lively freshness', while Alex Cooper of Haymarket Hotel found 'dried cranberry with rounded fruit on a fresh palate'. £23.41/75cl

£23.41 Sogrape UK

Sogrape, Sandeman, The Journey, Vintage Port, 2000, Douro , Portugal

Bronze medal winner

With peppery spice on the nose, and soft, black-pepper spiced fruit on the palate, Mark Dorber of The Anchor at Walberswick enjoyed its plum-infused flavours, saying it was ‘very full, with a long savoury/sweet finish’. £43.66/75cl

£43.66 Sogrape UK

Sogrape, Sandeman, Late Bottled Vintage, 2011, Douro , Portugal

Commended medal winner

£10.36 Sogrape UK

Sogrape, Ferreira, Late Bottled Vintage, 2011, Douro , Portugal

Commended medal winner

£11.14 Sogrape UK

Sogevinus, Barros, Late Bottled Vintage, 2011, Douro , Portugal

Commended medal winner

Sogevinus, Kopke, Late Bottled Vintage, 2011, Douro , Portugal

Commended medal winner

£12.15 Hayward Bros

Sogrape, Ferreira, 10 Year Old White Port, NV, Douro , Portugal

Commended medal winner

£8.06 Sogrape UK

Sogevinus, Barros, 10 Year Old Tawny, NV, Douro , Portugal

Commended medal winner

Sogevinus, Cálem, 10 Year Old Tawny, NV, Douro , Portugal

Commended medal winner

£13.58 Amathus

Sogrape, Ferreira, Ruby, NV, Douro , Portugal

Commended medal winner

£7.43 Sogrape UK

Alves de Sousa, Vintage Port, 2009, Douro , Portugal

Commended medal winner