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Winner Details

Port

2019  GOLD: 4            SILVER: 9            BRONZE: 2       COMMENDED: 4
2018  GOLD: 7            SILVER: 7            BRONZE: 2       COMMENDED: 5

On one hand, this looks like a rather average year for this category. After all, our Gold count was just over half what we’ve managed in the past two years. But in fact, this was more down to some ruthlessness in the compiling of our final list. I mean, how many ports does our fictional wine list actually need?

But though small, this was actually a rather better-balanced list than we’ve tended to manage over the past few years, when things have been rather dominated by the tawny category. This year, we had two wonderful whites and (hooray!) a high-quality LBV. In fact, if there was one area that underperformed this year it was, mystifyingly, tawny port, with just one place on the Gold List.

The best news about this category – apart from the variety on offer? The price. Fabulous value for money. No wonder our tasters were won over.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘I was surprised to find wines here that I could sell today. There were some really practical, useful wines in this flight.’ Bianca Potenza, Bluespoon Andaz Hotel – Amsterdam

‘Like great Bordeaux, these [red styles] need time. Even between the beginning of a bottle and the end you find different expressions. You can start with one during the main course, moving on to cheese and dessert.’ Rémi Cousin, Le Gavroche

‘White port has a bad reputation because of port and tonic, but this showed that if treated properly it can be a serious wine, without being expensive either.’ Tom Forrest, team leader

‘The real excitement is in 20-year-old tawny. Sometimes 30- and 40-year-old tawny can be too old.’ Sarah Jane Evans MW, team leader

‘We don’t have a ruby at Heddon Street, but we do have an LBV, a 10-year-old tawny, a 20-year-old tawny and a 2002 vintage. Our most commonly sold are the LBV and the vintage.’ Timothy Connor, Heddon Street Kitchen

‘I love tawny ports. They finish a meal better, they’re better to drink on their own, and there’s some real value for money. They’re just a really tough sell – but that’s the sweet wine category in general.’ Rebecca Coates, consultant

Award winners

Found 19 wines

Port

Poças, 10 Year Old White NV, Douro, Portugal

Gold medal winner

Gymkhana Restaurant’s Valentin Radosav echoed the enthusiasm of his fellow judges for this Gold winner as he praised its ‘superb balance of fruit, alcohol and acidity’, while describing ‘orange zest and nuttiness, along with some white chocolate notes’. Team leader Tom Forrest further described ‘sweet orange peel and spiced fruitcake, with hints of almond, caramel and quince jam membrillo, and some lightly spiced ginger notes, too, in this rich and opulent glass’.

£14.65 Size: 75cl House of Townend

Barros, White Port NV, Douro, Portugal

Gold medal winner Critics Choice

‘A very complex nose filled with toasted almonds and dried figs, along with some spicy orange and leather notes’ secured this white port’s Gold medal, according to team leader Carlos Ferreira, who found the palate to be ‘fresh and elegant, with a long finish’. Fellow team leader Tom Forrest noted ‘warm, cooked, honeyed apples with orange peel notes over a medium sweet, peppery spiced palate’, adding that its ‘good acidity keeps the toffee apple finish in check’.

£11.39 Size: 75cl Hallgarten & Novum Wines

C. da Silva, Dalva, 20 Year Old Tawny NV, Douro, Portugal

Gold medal winner

‘Intense yet elegant’ summed up this impressive Gold winner for Kahani London’s Ennio Pucciarelli, who thought ‘its gentle oxidation reveals notes of chocolate, caramel and liquorice, while it remains sweet yet fresh, with a lovely long finish’. Street XO’s Raphael Thierry, meanwhile, appreciated its ‘oily texture’, and thought it was ‘showing some savoury development, along with some salinity, sweet spice and dried fruit, all leading to a fresh finish, with well-integrated alcohol’.

£34.20 Size: 75cl Matthew Clark

Quinta do Crasto, Late Bottled Vintage 2013, Douro, Portugal

Gold medal winner

Going by the enthusiastic accounts of our judges this was an inevitable Gold, with team leader Carlos Ferreira finding ‘violets, roses and vanilla, as well as some white spices, leading to an elegant palate’, while Gymkhana Restaurant’s Valentin Radosav found it to be ‘precise, with blackcurrant and black cherry notes, as well as some spice and an earthiness too’. ‘Smooth and easy drinking,’ concluded Bianca Potenza of Bluespoon Andaz Hotel - Amsterdam, finding ‘black fruit, minerality and clay’ on the finish.

£13.74 Size: 75cl Enotria&Coe

Poças, 10 Year Old Tawny NV, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

Ennio Pucciarelli of Kahani London described this as ‘intense and aromatic, with red fruits and a sweet spiciness’, and thought it was ‘medium sweet and fresh’. ‘A young stripling – all apricots and red berries with a hit of alcohol,’ added team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW.

£14.65 Size: 75cl House of Townend

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

Silver medal winner

‘Strawberry jam, apricot purée and an excellent balance between fruit and acidity, the wine builds to a delightfully elegant, spicy yet smooth finish,’ said consultant Rebecca Coates.

£47.95 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

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

Silver medal winner

‘Elegant and delicate, this wine also has an impressive richness with everything in place; I'd happily drink this on its own – a meditative sipper of a wine,’ said Kahani London’s Ennio Pucciarelli.

£102.40 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

Sogrape, Sandeman, Vintage Port 2016, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

‘The nose is amazing,’ said team leader Carlos Ferreira, ‘lots of rich fruit, very concentrated and great balance. Everything is perfectly in place for its age.’

£47.69 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

Wiese & Krohn, Krohn, Colheita 2007, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

Kahani London’s Ennio Pucciarelli described this as ‘an elegant and complex wine, with lots of jammy notes and sweet spices’. He thought it had a ‘very rich, yet sweet mouthfeel’ and that the ‘lovely balancing acidity leads to a very long finish’.

£13.55 Size: 75cl Boutinot

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

Silver medal winner

Le Gavroche’s Rémi Cousin enjoyed this sweeter style with its ‘intense heady and ripe display of quince, apricot and orange marmalade fruits’. He thought that the ‘lovely sweet spices such as clove and cinnamon all combine to create an elegant palate that calls for a second glass’.

£10.00 Size: 75cl Boutinot

Alves de Sousa, Quinta da Gaivosa, Vintage Port 2016, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

‘Very fresh and juicy fruits on the palate with a spicy, well-balanced finish,’ said team leader Carlos Ferreira, while fellow team leader Tom Forrest added: ‘Warm tobacco leaf and a perfumed rose and violet nose. Soft red and black fruits make a gentle palate with a long, integrated finish.’

£33.32 Size: 75cl Atlantico UK, Top Selection

C. da Silva, Dalva, 10 Year Old Tawny NV, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

‘Classically vanilla and red fruit jam flavours blend with appealing savoury notes and a lightly tannic, complex finish,’ said team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW, who thought it would be ‘easy to have a second glass’. ‘It’s robust and spicy but has a lovely fresh finish,’ added Timothy Connor of Heddon Street Kitchen.

£18.26 Size: 75cl Matthew Clark

Barros, Colheita Port 2005, Douro, Portugal

Silver medal winner

‘Smoky, roasted notes on the nose – clear signs of ageing – form a backdrop to glorious orange and red fruit aromas,’ said team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW. ‘The palate packs a vintage punch of dried fruit and chocolate, with supple tannins and a salty sign off,’ she continued.

£23.48 Size: 75cl Hallgarten & Novum Wines

C. da Silva, Dalva, Late Bottled Vintage 2012, Douro, Portugal

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Carlos Ferreira found a nose of ‘dry figs and almonds with toasted vanilla and coffee’ and further described the wine as ‘well balanced and aromatic with a complex, beautiful finish’.

£13.30 Size: 75cl Matthew Clark

Fonseca, Bin 27 NV, Douro, Portugal

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Carlos Ferreira noted that this had ‘a rich nose of raisin and fig with lots of spice’ and remarked on how ‘red and dense black fruit follow across the palate to a fresh, well-balanced finish’.

£8.76 Size: 75cl Mentzendorff & Co

Warre's, Cavadinha, Vintage Port 2004, Douro, Portugal

Commended medal winner

£34.20 Size: 75cl Bibendum

Alves de Sousa, Quinta Da Gaivosa, 10 Years Old Tawny NV, Douro, Portugal

Commended medal winner

£17.42 Size: 75cl Atlantico UK, Top Selection

Sogrape, Sandeman, Late Bottled Vintage 2014, Douro, Portugal

Commended medal winner

£12.04 Size: 75cl Liberty Wines

C. da Silva, Dalva, Ruby Reserva NV, Douro, Portugal

Commended medal winner

£11.83 Size: 75cl Matthew Clark

 

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