Other Fortified
No Golds, but plenty of positive feedback. A good hunting ground for those of you who ‘do’ esoteric on your list

A wildly eclectic range of wines and all the better for it, with the sommeliers agreeing that this showed what a fantastic, diverse and wrongly under-represented category this is. High quality was found across the flight, almost without exception.

‘It was difficult not to say yes to the whole flight as you could put all of these on your list by the glass and half bottle, and sell them at a great price for the quality,’ said Nigel Lister of the Royal Thames Yacht Club.

Olivier Gasselin, Hakkasan, felt that they were the sorts of wines that would be appreciated back of house, too. ‘There are some great wines here, both to list with desserts on the menu and also for the chef to use in creating desserts and other dishes, where the quality would be matched by the typically high-quality ingredients sourcedby the kitchen.

Alas, while the early-round tasters enjoyed the variety, those judging the final round were harder to please, feeling that the wines would simply be too hard a sell. ‘The Madeira is great but you would really have to love it to sell it,’ said one taster.

So, a category that usually yields at least one wine on the Gold List (and managed three last year) draws a blank in 2011. But this was for commercial, rather than qualitative, reasons and, if you think you can shift ‘em, the wines opposite are well worth a look.

“I loved the flavours here, but the alcohol was too high. ” Laura Rhys MS, ex-Hotel TerraVina


bacalhoa Moscatel de Setubal 1999, Setubal Peninsula, Portugal
£10.69 @ Ehrmanns
Very distinctive, this has floral, citrus, herbal and medicinal notes. Powerful on the palate, this isn’t overly sweet but does have plenty of flavour with a tangy, nutty finish.

Henriques & Henriques 15 Year Old Bual NV, Madeira, Portugal
£19.58 @ Mentzendorff & Co
Tangy and serious, this Madeira is gracefully showing its age. Caramel and butterscotch
richness fall under the spell of a nutty, broad, medium-sweet palate, alongside notes of nuts, cacao and spice.


Penny’s Hill The Veteran Very Old Fortified NV, South Australia
£10.16 @ Hallgarten Druitt
Plenty of complexity to enjoy, with dates and caramelised fig flavours next to Christmas cake, cedar and candied apricots. Spicy, rich and ample, with some freshness and a smoky finish.

Editorial feature from Imbibe Magazine – May/June 2011

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