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Winner Details

Port

2017 Gold: 9 Silver: 12 Bronze: 2 Commended: 12
2016 Gold: 6 Silver: 10 Bronze: 7 Commended: 9

Sommeliers of the UK, you have a clear mission: to sell more port. Is it a Mission impossible? Maybe not. We got a good spread of entries here this year – and our tasters unequivocally loved pretty much all of them – but particularly the more oxidised styles.

Top of the drops were aged tawny and white port, which had our tasters swooning – the only slight downsides being that a) hardly anybody lists these styles and b) when they do, they’re not easy to sell. Unless you’re in a specialised port venue, or cater to a clientele of retired army majors, getting this stuff into people’s glasses can be like trying to push Tinta Roriz uphill.

Yet the effort is surely worth it. In terms of sheer pedigree for the money, these wines are out of sight… a great way to add real pizazz to the dining occasion.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘Any fortified wine is a difficult style to sell.’ Kelvin McCabe, Yauatcha

‘I list ruby, vintage, tawny… I sell port by the gallon at my place! My customers drink a lot of it.’ Andre Luis Martins, Cavalry & Guards Club

‘Tawny is where some in the industry see the future of the category. They’re instant sellers, don’t need chilling or decanting, and can keep for a few weeks once they’re opened. They have practicality, are food-friendly, and are more versatile than people think.’ Tom Forrest, team leader

‘Tawnies offers unbelievable quality, and are so worth the money. In fact, they’re probably too cheap for what you get. For the on-trade, you can always find good price and quality here.’ Carlos Ferreira, The Sign of the Don

‘I prefer tawny to vintage port, and the medal winners here were textbook. We have 25 to 30 dessert wines by the glass, and tawny is in the top five for popularity.’ Adam Michocki, Chez Bruce

‘Too many Golds!’ Laurent Richet MS, team leader

‘The colheitas were very impressive. You need to explain the style to consumers – but let’s get more colheita on the list!’ Andrea Bricarello, team leader

‘White port is coming back as a category. Twenty years ago, the only white ports were Muscat, and now they are much more complex. They are perfect with cheeses and charcuterie. The quality was really, really good, really impressive.’ Matthieu Longuère MS, Le Cordon Bleu London

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.

Award winners

Found 35 wines

Port

Sogrape, Sandeman, 40 Year Old Tawny NV, Douro, Portugal

Gold medal winner

Team leader Sam Caporn MW felt this complex and mature Gold Lister showed ‘nice development and notes of caramel and baked fruit on the nose, followed by a balanced, integrated and seamless character on the palate with a long and nutty finish’. Andrés Iterate of Coq d’Argent appreciated its ‘caramel and brown sugar notes, along with a creamy, Fig Newton, brioche flavour’. £92/75cl

£92.00 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

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

Gold medal winner Critics ChoiceCasper Auchterlonie medal winner

This wowed our judges with its complexity, depth and individuality, earning it not only a well-deserved Gold, but the Caspar Auchterlonie Award for the competition’s top fortified wine. Le Cordon Bleu London’s Matthieu Longuère MS praised ‘toffee-fudge and honeyed mead aromas, with lovely fruit on a palate that’s really fresh and minty, with a slightly gritty texture and wonderful length’. ‘Powerful and warming,’ began J Corey Evans of St Swithins Wine Shippers, adding: ‘This is very mineral and well developed, with elegant, dried apricot fruit and a saltiness too.’ Julien Sahut of Sexy Fish was taken by its ‘rich, complex, nutty nose, as well as a peppery note, leading to a spicy finish with a touch of nutmeg. Ideally suited to either a cheese board or sticky toffee pudding.’ £14.62/37.5cl

£14.62 Size: 37.5cl Sogrape Vinhos SA

Wiese & Krohn, Krohn, Colheita 1996, Douro, Portugal

Gold medal winner

‘A lovely expression of colheita,’ praised team leader Annette Scarfe MW, going on to describe ‘hazelnuts and sweet cinnamon spice, with a fresh, juicy palate’. Michael Fiducia of Coworth Park Ascot very much enjoyed its ‘lovely mellow Christmas cake character with a huge, rounded palate explosion’, while Vinoteca’s Charlie Young highlighted ‘walnuts and molasses, great acidity and power leading to flavours of ground walnuts, stewed plums and currants’. Julien Sahut of Sexy Fish thought this was best served with orange cheesecake. £21.70/75cl

£21.70 Size: 75cl Boutinot

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

Gold medal winner

Taking one of the two white port Golds in this year’s competition, this was a ‘complex, elegant and nutty’ style according to Le Cordon Bleu London’s Matthieu Longuère MS, who enjoyed its ‘dried flowers and lovely fruit with freshness and elegance on the finish’, while team leader Jade Koch found ‘pretty orange character, drying on the palate with marzipan notes emerging and great character and length’. ‘Good intensity and definition of fruit, with notes of date, raisin, prune and cooked apple,’ added Jacopo Armenio of Vineries. £14.50/37.5cl

£14.50 Size: 37.5cl Hayward Bros

Sogevinus, Kopke, Colheita 1981, Douro, Portugal

Gold medal winner

It was no surprise that this colheita snapped up Gold. ‘Coffee and walnuts, dark chocolate, youthful yet harmonious, notes of finely ground nuts and Christmas cake and very smooth texture. Oh yeah!’ exclaimed a very satisfied Charlie Young of Vinoteca. Meanwhile, for Sebastian Agnello of The Don Restaurant, its ‘walnuts, toasted hazelnuts and cooked prune character make it the perfect match with cheese’. J Corey Evans of St Swithins Wine Shippers had a sweeter match in mind, saying: ‘Caramelised almonds and developing fruit would make this great with chocolate and coffee cake.’ £48.35/75cl

£48.35 Size: 75cl Hayward Bros

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

Gold medal winner

Rich dried fruit and beautiful nutty notes elevated this tawny to Gold. ‘Church wood, great figgy fruit and acidity, then a lingering finish. Lovely stuff,’ said a satisfied Damien Trinckquel of Galvin Brasserie de Luxe Edinburgh, with Tobias Brauweiler MS of Sake No Hana highlighting ‘dark chocolate and coffee powder, complex caramel and preserved fruit flavours, nicely balanced alcohol and sweetness’. Ideally suited to complement ‘cooked figs with blue cheese and walnuts’, thought Elly Owen of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall. £26.25/75cl

£26.25 Size: 75cl Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Alves de Sousa, Quinta da Gaivosa, Late Bottled Vintage 2012, Douro, Portugal

Gold medal winner

Team leader Annette Scarfe MW enjoyed this Gold medal LBV’s ‘lovely, plush, juicy primary fruit with Christmas cake spice and richness on the palate, a lovely core of acidity, dense, dark chocolate and liquorice coming through on the finish’, while Andre Luis Martins of the Cavalry & Guards Club noted its ‘fresh cherry fruit and gentle balsamic aromas, with cigar tobacco and leather notes adding complexity to a powerful, fruit-driven character’. The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira saw this all adding up to a perfect match for blue cheese. £19/75cl

£19.00 Size: 75cl Atlantico UK, Top Selection

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

Gold medal winner

It couldn't be anything but Gold for Quinta do Vallado’s 10 Year Old, which Xabier Alvarez of Trangallán described as having ‘candy and flowers on the nose, with dark preserved fruits and hints of rose, a light palate with juicy fig and plum, cherry fruit and red liquorice on the finish’. Team leader Laurent Richet MS described this as a ‘muscular style of port, with spice, honey, caramel and date notes, and a persistent finish’, while Damien Trinckquel of Galvin Brasserie de Luxe Edinburgh summed it up: ‘Good balance of acidity and sweetness, with fine wood and oxidation.’ £13.32/50cl

£13.32 Size: 50cl Bibendum

Quinta do Infantado, Vintage Port 2011, Douro, Portugal

Gold medal winner

‘A lovely example, plush and luscious with a generous mid-palate packed with an explosive fruit compote of sweet plums and spice, with great length on the finish, too,’ said impressed team leader Annette Scarfe MW of this Gold medal winner. Andre Luis Martins of the Cavalry & Guards Club admired its ‘rich red cherries with gentle balsamic notes, sweet herbal character on the palate with rich, developed fruit character on the finish’. ‘Buy now and hide it while you can,’ suggested team leader Tom Forrest, with The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira in agreement: ‘Showing well, despite still being a baby, but it will become a big vintage port in 15–20 years’ time.’ £36.55/75cl

£36.66 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

Ramos Pinto, Quinta de Ervamoira, 10 Year Old Tawny NV, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

A ‘long and lovely’ style for team leader Sam Caporn MW, with its ‘vanilla and spice with fresh acid and distinct notes of chestnut on the finish’, while Trangallán’s Xabier Alvarez also enjoyed its ‘toasty aromas with hazelnut, notes of pine tree, spices and liquorice with sweet tannins and a lovely line of acidity’. £33.50/75cl

£33.50 Size: 75cl Maisons Marques et Domaines

Sogrape, Sandeman, Founders Reserve NV, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

A lighter style, said Andre Luis Martins of the Cavalry & Guards Club, who found ‘cherry with subtle floral touches on the nose, rich sweet spices and gentle herbal notes on the palate’, while team leader Annette Scarfe MW highlighted ‘juicy black berry fruit with a slightly fiery feel and a contrasting, slightly oxidative note’. £9.09/75cl

£9.09 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

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

Silver medal winner

‘Floral, plum jam notes on a characterful nose,’ began Kelvin McCabe of Yauatcha, who found it ‘big and ripe on the palate, more plum and floral flavours with notes of fresh tobacco and cooked blackcurrant fruit, fresh and fragrant on the finish’. ‘Juicy with ripe, defined tannins, needs time,’ added team leader Annette Scarfe MW. £17.95/75cl

£17.95 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

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

Silver medal winner

‘Strawberry jam on toast with orange and dried peach notes on the nose, cinnamon and sweet spices,’ began Carlos Ferreira of The Sign of the Don, who found it ‘very well balanced, with nice acidity, good to accompany cheeses’, while team leader Tom Forrest noted ‘soft, integrated alcohol and a peppery kick on the finish’. £24.53/75cl

£24.53 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

Sogrape, Sandeman, 30 Year Old Tawny NV, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

Full of ‘purity and elegance, and complex vibrant character on a long palate’, said Xabier Alvarez of Trangallán, with team leader Sam Caporn MW also noting ‘quite a pale colour and a restrained nose of vanilla, mixed spices and baked plums, with some alcohol warmth on the finish accompanied by lovely suggestions of grilled nuts’. £41.72/75cl

£41.72 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

Sogrape, Ferreira, Late Bottled Vintage 2012, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

‘Red berries and tobacco leaf aromas with notes of fruit liqueur, gentle sweet spices on the palate and a hint of chocolate on the finish,’ began Andre Luis Martins of the Cavalry & Guards Club, with team leader Annette Scarfe MW noting ‘ripe, rich Christmas cake fruit with spice and liquorice tones, and a nice core of quality’. £12.25/75cl

£12.25 Size: 75cl Berkmann Wine Cellars

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

Silver medal winner

Sumi Sarma of Sumilier enjoyed the aromas of ‘figs, dried plums, toffee with smoky toasted notes and spices’, finding a palate of ‘forest floor with orange fruit, tobacco, cinnamon and nutmeg spice, darker liquorice and a good, lingering finish, well-balanced oak and fruit notes with supple tannins’. £15.85/75cl

£15.85 Size: 75cl Berkmann Wine Cellars

Sogevinus, Kopke, Colheita 1999, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

Sebastian Agnello of The Don Restaurant enjoyed its ‘fig marmalade and dark caramel character, honey and sweet spice notes with a lovely finish’, and Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia highlighted its ‘lifted raisin and citrus peel notes with caramelised peel on the finish’. £24.55/75cl

£24.55 Size: 75cl Hayward Bros

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

Silver medal winner

Tobias Brauweiler MS of Sake No Hana noted ‘dark fruits, fig and prune on the nose with hints of olive tapenade, followed by a medium-weight palate with lovely fruit richness, caramel and leafy touches on the finish’. £14.69/75cl

£14.69 Size: 75cl Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Quinta do Vallado, 20 Year Old Tawny NV, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

‘Clean, pure, elegant aromas of fig fruits, and on the palate there’s a balance of smoky oak and an underlying racy acidity,’ said Sumi Sarma of Sumilier, concluding: ‘Long finesse, with notes of coffee, chocolate toffee and some floral notes on the finish.’ £22.63/50cl

£22.63 Size: 50cl Bibendum

Quinta do Vallado, 30 Year Old Tawny NV, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

This had ‘nice concentration’, said The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira, showing ‘toasted, spicy caramel and vanilla aromas with flavours of dried peach and nuts, almonds, and it’s just asking for a nice dessert such as pistachio crème brûlée’. ‘Great length, lovely walnut and dried fig notes with dried orange, hazelnuts and a peppery finish,’ added team leader Tom Forrest. £40.80/50cl

£40.80 Size: 50cl Bibendum

Quinta do Crasto, Colheita 1997, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

‘Dense, dark chocolate and cream with sticky fruit aromas,’ began Stefan Kobald of Jason Atherton Group, who noted ‘plum, figs, caramelised coffee beans and raisins on the palate, which is complex with a smooth finish and a long life’. ‘Stewed plums, fresh and sweet berries lead into notes of black treacle and sweet spice, ginger and a touch of bitterness,’ added Vinoteca’s Charlie Young. £25.02/75cl

£25.02 Size: 75cl Enotria&Coe

Sogrape, Sandeman, 10 Year Old Tawny NV, Douro, Portugal

Bronze medal winner

‘Apricot and cherry with raisined fruit on the nose, richer liquorice on the palate with some tannins and toasty walnuts,’ said Xabier Alvarez of Trangallán, while team leader Sam Caporn MW found ‘warming alcohol coming through on the nose and palate, with some nice nuts on the finish’. £14.04/75cl

£14.04 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

Sogevinus, Kopke, Colheita White 2007, Douro, Portugal

Bronze medal winner

‘Modern style and very refreshing,’ began Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted, who found ‘many layers of dried fruits, honey and rancio character, good balance and length, opening up nicely across the palate, and it’s very easy to drink more than one glass!’ £22/75cl

£22.00 Size: 75cl Hayward Bros

Quinta da Boeira, Reserve Tawny NV, Douro, Portugal

Commended medal winner

£18.83 Size: 75cl Quinta da Boeira

Ramos Pinto, Adriano, White Reserva NV, Douro, Portugal

Commended medal winner

£18.00 Size: 75cl Maisons Marques et Domaines

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

Commended medal winner

£10.86 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

Sogrape, Ferreira, Ruby NV, Douro , Portugal

Commended medal winner

£9.00 Size: 75cl Berkmann Wine Cellars

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

Commended medal winner

£26.95 Size: 75cl Berkmann Wine Cellars

Sogrape, Ferreira, Dona Antónia, Reserva Tawny NV, Douro, Portugal

Commended medal winner

£14.20 Size: 75cl Sogrape Vinhos SA

Wiese & Krohn, Lágrima, White Port NV, Douro , Portugal

Commended medal winner

£9.72 Size: 75cl Boutinot

Sogevinus, Kopke, Colheita White 2003, Douro, Portugal

Commended medal winner

£24.95 Size: 75cl Hayward Bros

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

Commended medal winner

£27.35 Size: 75cl Hayward Bros

Sogevinus, Cálem, Colheita 2000, Douro, Portugal

Commended medal winner

£21.00 Size: 75cl Amathus

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

Commended medal winner

£13.27 Size: 75cl Amathus

Sogevinus, Barros, Colheita 1998, Douro, Portugal

Commended medal winner

£26.35 Size: 75cl Hallgarten & Novum Wines

 

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