This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for Portuguese Fortified over £15 went to Bacalhôa, Moscatel, Setúbal Roxo 2002 (17%)

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  • No other Golds in this category

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Bacalhoa Moscatels have had an extraordinary run of success at the DWWA, winning five Regional Trophies in the past four years against extremely stiff competition.

The Moscatel Roxo clone was in danger of extinction only a few years ago (the largest single vineyard in the world was just four hectares), when a far-sighted administrator named Antonio Francisco Avillez saw the potential to launch a more authentic, high-quality 100% varietal example. Winemaker Filipa Tomaz da Costa was put on the case, and immediately implemented several qualitative changes: the wine became a single-vintage product, rather than a blend; oxidation was encouraged as key to the wine’s character; and, perhaps most unusually, single-malt whisky casks were introduced for an extended eight years of oak maturation.

The vineyards are in the Arrabida mountains, on north-facing slopes protected from the hot southerly winds. Limestone soils help imbue the wines with their distinctive natural acidity and lush, orange marmalade fruit style.

The jewel in the crown at Bacalhôa, the Roxo (the first vintage of which was the 1987) may account for less than 1% of production, but it complements myriad decadent foods, including dark chocolate and blue cheese. Alternatively, enjoy it on its own alongside good coffee.

Written by Decanter