This year's Decanter World Wine Awards International Trophy for the Best in Show Dry Fortified over £15 went to Lustau, 30 Years Old VORS, Amontillado, Sherry, Spain NV (21.5%)

Tasted against:

  • Contini, Riserva, Vernaccia di Oristano, Sardinia, Italy 1990

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A second DWWA International Trophy in the Dry Fortified category proves just what a classy Sherry bodega Lustau is. Even against competition as stiff as the 1990 Vernaccia di Oristano, our panel was utterly dazzled: ‘You don’t really have to drink it because it smells so wonderful,’ said one of our judges.

‘It’s a wine of great age that you need enjoy slowly: for consenting adults only,’ added another. Lustau’s VORS range (Very Old Rare Sherry), is a collection specially selected by cellarmaster Manuel Lozano.

The wines age for at least 30 years in separate corners of Lustau’s bodegas in Jerez de la Frontera. They all have a very limited production (Lustau releases just 500 bottles of this amontillado each year) and the wines have to be independently assessed by the region’s governing body to both confirm their age, and that they meet the strict quality standards attached to VORS Sherries.

In its formative years Lustau was an almacenista – a stockholder and provider of Sherries to larger shippers. But in 1950 it became an exporter itself as the company expanded rapidly.

Three decades later it took a conscious decision to focus only on premium Sherries and it has followed that path ever since, to great acclaim. In 1990 it was bought by Grupo Caballero, a company that’s been involved in wine since 1830.

This gave Lustau the financial muscle to expand even further, and it went on to acquire several new vineyards; one of these was Montegilillo, where this wine – as well as the Under £15 Trophy, was born. Despite the searing temperatures the Palomino grapes endure here throughout summer, relief comes from cooling Atlantic breezes that ensure a good ripening process.

Amontillado Sherry is essentially a fino whose layer of flor didn’t develop in the solera. It is fuller and darker than a fino with more savoury, nutty characters and makes a very versatile food pairing.

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Written by Decanter