Big Fortified Tasting: the top ten - The top ten

London's BFT (Big Fortified Tasting) could just have been a great idea. As it happened, it was a great event too (writes Sarah Jane Evans MW). The idea was that fortified wines are always the poor relations at a big tasting: they get left until the end of the afternoon and then forgotten altogether, or given cursory attention. Here in London's Fishmongers Hall, 52 producers showed between 2 and 12 wines each. There were Ports, Sherries, Madeiras, but also Vins Doux Naturels and Californian treats. It was a great fair for the too often forgotten wines such as the Rutherglen Muscats, Marsala and Setubal. There was also the occasional elderly surprise, such as an old Palo Cortado from Barbadillo's Reliquia collection, redolent of mahogany. The room was full of fortified fans, and it was a perfect opportunity for Master of Wine students busy revising for June's examination: there has never been such an opportunity to taste so many fortified classics together, and to understand what makes an old Oloroso different from an aged Madeira, or a Quady Californian 'Starboard' from a Port. There was also a chance to talk to brand owners - those who had made it through the volcanic ash. The big guns turned out - Tío Pepe had news of their newest project, to release Tío Pepe en rama, straight from the butt; Noval had their new 'ready to drink' port, Noval Black; the Port producers generally had good news of declarations. There was a surprisingly low turnout from the producers of Collioure and Banyuls and SW France in general. Hopefully this will be remedied next year, in what should become an annual event.

Wine name Producer Country Region Vintage

Equipo Navazos, La Bota de Palo Cortado no.21, Jerez

Equipo Navazos Spain Southern NV

Pedro Domecq, La Ina, Jerez

Pedro Domecq [Jerez] Spain Southern NV

Fernando de Castilla, Antique Palo Cortado, Jerez

Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla Spain Southern NV

Gonzalez Byass, Vina AB Amontillado, Jerez

Gonzalez Byass Spain Southern NV

Domaine de Rancy, Rivesaltes 1982, Vin Doux Naturel


Henriques & Henriques, 15 Year Old Verdelho, Madeira

Henriques & Henriques Portugal Douro Valley NV

Barbeito, Boal 1982, Frasqueira, Madeira

Vinhos Barbeito (Madeira) Lda N/A N/A NV

Stanton and Killeen, Rutherglen Muscat, Victoria

Stanton and Killeen Wines Australia Victoria NV

Bacalhoa, Moscatel Roxo, Moscatel de Setubal

N/A N/A N/A 1999

Quinta do Sao Francisco, Vinho Licoroso, Estremadura