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Winner Details

Port

2018  GOLD: 7            SILVER: 7            BRONZE: 2       COMMENDED: 5
2017  GOLD: 9            SILVER: 12          BRONZE: 2       COMMENDED: 12

We should re-name this section Tawny. Ten years ago, the port category of the Sommelier Wine Awards was mostly about LBVs, reserve and vintage. Red ports, in other words. But the colour has shifted markedly over time towards the more oxidative styles, which probably makes sense. These wines last far longer once they’re opened – and boy do they deliver!

Our tasters were in raptures over this lot. We didn’t get a particularly huge entry of tawnies and colheitas but they dominated the places on the Gold List, leaving a trail of enraptured sommeliers behind them. There’s probably nowhere else in this competition that can deliver the complexity and sheer class for the money that our medal winners here do.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘A great flight, providing you with a glimpse of what the category can do. It’s mind blowing. Usually you choose a tawny for a list and you don’t think about it again, but this flight was an eye opener.’ Chris Delalonde MS, Bleeding Heart Group

‘I would list most of the tawnies. This is a wine where the value for money is fantastic. You can sell a glass of high-quality stuff for £5 and make a high margin. I think people were too focused on vintage port before, but tawny is growing every day.’ Manuel Ribeiro, The Bybrook at The Manor House Hotel

‘The [tawny and colheita] bottles can even improve after they’ve been open and you can keep them open indefinitely.’ Carlos Ferreira, The Don

‘There are styles of port that are crying out to be rediscovered, and colheita is one of them. These ’98s weren’t much more than £30 a bottle – where else can you find a wine this old and in this condition?’ Tom Forrest, team leader

‘Tawny is a category that the British public doesn’t know much about. I think there’s more character there than some vintages.’ Michael Fiducia, Coworth Park Ascot

Award winners

Found 21 wines

Port

Quinta da Boeira, Very Old Tawny Port NV, Douro, Portugal

Gold medal winner

This outstanding tawny, judges agreed, deserved nothing less than Gold. ‘Beyond complex,’ began Cheese at Leadenhall’s Robert Mason, finding it ‘eternal and astounding, with woody orange peel, caramel, ginger, raisins, toffee – a good rum profile – and smooth, silky, elegant and rounded’. Team leader Lionel Periner couldn’t resist its ‘full, rich, orange peel and Christmas cake, balsamic’ aromas, declaring the palate ‘elegant and perfumed, lighter in style but with beautiful integration: a violin playing quietly, but with feeling’.

£261.11 Size: 37.5cl Quinta da Boeira

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

Gold medal winner Critics Choice

Judges, unsurprisingly, had no shortage of praise for this Gold winner. For Manuel Ribeiro of The Bybrook at The Manor Hotel it stood out for its ‘elegant, clean style and complex oaky length’, while Christoph Hons of Park Chinois highlighted ‘a fine body, good balance of sweetness and smoky herbal flavours’. ‘Supple, with gentle, juicy spice, this is long and generous, with real depth and freshness,’ concluded team leader Simon Woods.

£92.11 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

Alves de Sousa, Quinta da Gaivosa, Late Bottled Vintage 2013, Douro, Portugal

Gold medal winner

As this snapped up Gold, team leader Jade Koch found ‘Earl Grey tea aromas, with warm, juicy elegance with sweet tea notes on the palate’, while Vinoteca’s Charlie Young complimented ‘a lovely stoniness to balance the sugar’, following ‘celery and dark plum on the nose, powerful with lovely definition of fruit, and a scented and pure finish’. ‘Very well balanced and fruit forward,’ thought The Don’s Carlos Ferreira, particularly liking ‘spicy cherry, jasmine and mint’.

£18.04 Size: 75cl Atlantico UK, Top Selection

Alves de Sousa, Vintage Port 2015, Douro, Portugal

Gold medal winner

A hit with our judging panel, with team leader Jade Koch saying she ‘could sit with this for hours’, to explore its ‘lighter, hotter fruit and spice and great texture, with delicious sweet tea, honey and oily putty character, fruit and chocolate notes – very moreish’, while for Vinoteca’s Charlie Young it was ‘a quality act, with touches of marzipan, candied red fruit and lovely development of fruit, with the spices beginning to show on the palate’.

£35.45 Size: 75cl Atlantico UK, Top Selection

Sogevinus, Barros, Colheita 1998, Douro, Portugal

Gold medal winner

Effusive in their praise, judges didn’t hesitate in handing over the Gold here. Finding the nose ‘very spicy with dried fruits, leather, tobacco and cinnamon’, The Don’s Carlos Ferreira admired a palate that was ‘very beautiful, perfectly fresh and balanced’, with team leader Tom Forrest highlighting ‘soft raisin and fig aromas, dates and light caramel notes, smoky coffee and toffee on the finish’. ‘Pretty and balanced, with great fruit, tannin and balance,’ concluded team leader Jade Koch.

£35.42 Size: 75cl Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Sogevinus, Kopke, Colheita 1998, Douro, Portugal

Gold medal winner

The Don’s Carlos Ferreira was absorbed in this Gold’s ‘caramel biscuit aromas, dried figs and cherry liqueur notes, and lots more of that caramel biscuit on the palate with cinnamon spice notes’, and further praising it for being ‘very well balanced and creamy in texture’. ‘Dry cherries, pastry and toasted almonds’ made Giuseppe Longobardi of The Cross Kenilworth and Simpsons Edgbaston think this the perfect partner for ‘chocolate, almond parfait and cherry sauce’.

£31.90 Size: 75cl Hayward Bros

Sogevinus, Kopke, Colheita 2008, Douro, Portugal

Gold medal winner

Voted a unanimous Gold by our judges, with Vinoteca’s Charlie Young describing aromas of ‘nuts, dried apricots, sweet spices, then good power and acidity on the palate with more finely ground nut notes, followed by loads of dried apricot flavour’. Suave Wine’s Joseph Lunn also admired its ‘long, subtle nose of bitter orange and baked plum pudding, earthy complexity on the palate with notes of ceps, saffron and juniper’, recommending it as ‘perfect with a spiced cherry pie’.

£27.50 Size: 75cl Hayward Bros

Wiese & Krohn, Krohn, Colheita 2004, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

‘Sweet, stewy fig and dark fruit aromas, hot spice notes and pepper on the palate with some treacle and toffee elements,’ said team leader Tom Forrest, with Typing Room’s Alex Pitt assessing it as a ‘great value for money, pub cheeseboard port’.

£13.50 Size: 75cl Boutinot

Quinta do Crasto, Colheita 1998, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia was keen on this port’s ‘condensed Christmas cake and dried fruits with concentration and an opulent palate’, while team leader Tom Forrest indulged in ‘clean varnish aromas, toffee and caramelised beignet fritters, dried orange and fig on the palate with hints of pepper’.

£25.63 Size: 75cl Enotria&Coe

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

Silver medal winner

A combination of ‘floral notes, nuts, mixed dried fruits and orange peel’ on the nose, said team leader Lionel Periner, who found a ‘full palate, well balanced with cacao and delicate spice notes’, and Bleeding Heart Group’s Chris Delalonde MS liked its ‘gingerbread and clove spice, balsamic hints and savoury character’.

£37.16 Size: 50cl Bibendum

Sogrape, Sandeman, Quinta do Seixo, Vintage Port 2015, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

Despite its ‘purple and dark appearance, massive fruit and acid’, team leader Jade Koch found this port ‘juicy and warm, lean with good tannin and length’, while Vinoteca’s Charlie Young highlighted ‘pure, sweet red fruit and subtle spice, big power but there’s good balance here to be better over time’.

£29.70 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

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

Silver medal winner

Bleeding Heart Group’s Chris Delalonde MS found ‘good complexity with plummy fruit and spice notes of clove and sweet ginger’, while Manuel Ribeiro of The Bybrook at The Manor Hotel highlighted its ‘chocolate toffee and roast nut aromas, fruity style with good balance’.

£18.17 Size: 50cl Bibendum

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

Silver medal winner

With a ‘light intensity and great balance’, this had ‘a lovely flavour of dried leaves and a long finish’, began team leader Lionel Periner, with Manuel Ribeiro of The Bybrook at The Manor House Hotel noting ‘raisins, Christmas fruit and nuts with honey and smooth balance’.

£16.30 Size: 75cl Hayward Bros

Sogevinus, Barros, Colheita 1974, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

This impressed Michael Fiducia of Coworth Park Ascot with its ‘lifted candied and dried fruits, great freshness on the nose, wonderfully rounded and soft palate with great concentration of flavours’, while team leader Tom Forrest declared it a ‘never-ending story of pepper and spice, bonfire toffee and treacle with notes of fig, date and dried pepper complexity’.

£75.62 Size: 75cl Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Sogevinus, Barros, Colheita 2005, Douro, Portugal

Bronze medal winner

Alex Pitt of Typing Room enjoyed the ‘cinder toffee, dates and figs’, adding it would be a ‘lovely end to a meal, drinking so well but will have an extremely long life’. Meanwhile The Don’s Carlos Ferreira noted ‘spiced leather, pear and dried figs, a palate of creamy coffee and After Eight mints’ for a ‘classic, really good port’.

£23.48 Size: 75cl Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Sogrape, Sandeman, Late Bottled Vintage 2013, Douro, Portugal

Bronze medal winner

‘A quirky LBV,’ thought Frédéric Billet of Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa, enjoying its ‘spicy, pungent nose with lots of depth, confit cherries and rounded tannins on the palate, black pepper notes and very long finish, showing good potential to age’.

£10.97 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

Sogevinus, Cálem, Colheita 2002, Douro, Portugal

Commended medal winner

£21.48 Size: 75cl Amathus

Authentic Wines, Quinta da Silveira, 10 Year Old Tawny NV, Douro, Portugal

Commended medal winner

£23.33 Size: 75cl Davy's Wine Merchants

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

Commended medal winner

£66.90 Size: 50cl Bibendum

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

Commended medal winner

£41.83 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

Sogevinus, Kopke, Colheita 2004, Douro, Portugal

Commended medal winner

£24.60 Size: 75cl Hayward Bros

 

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