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DWWA 2014: Port & Madeira insights

Hear from our Regional Chair Richard Mayson on which wines to buy, which wines to leave on the shelf and what to keep an eye on from this year's Decanter World Wine Awards....

We are truly fortunate that every year, some of the greatest names in the fortified business submit their wines to the DWWA. So it’s no surprise that we have yet another stunning set of results this year. Out of the 143 wines entered, only 15 failed to win an award. Having chaired the Port & Madeira panel since the DWWA’s inception, I can vouch that our judges are as demanding as ever. We want to give medals, but only to medal-worthy wines. This year we awarded four Trophies – three to Port and one to Madeira – as well as 11 Port and five Madeira Golds. There were medals at all price levels, including the Reserve and LBV wines, and the offering of aged tawnies was outstanding. The judges appreciated the wonderful balance, freshness and poise of these fine-tuned wines. Older Colheitas and vintage Ports were a little more variable (with one or two suffering from oxidation, possibly due to poor storage), but we were suitably impressed by the recently declared 2011 vintage. The overall quality of Port has improved vastly over the past two decades. These results are testament to that.

What should we buy from here?

The short answer is virtually everything. There were medal winners across the board, including own-label wines from Marks & Spencer, Morrisons and The Wine Society. If I had to single out a category that bowled us over, it would be Madeira, where every wine entered won a medal. These wines are much more versatile than most of us think and deserve to be much better known.

What should we leave on the shelf?

Not much, given this comprehensive and successful line-up of wines. There were no disappointing categories; just a few individual wines that failed to make the grade.

What should we keep an eye on?

The outstanding 2011 Port vintage. This was universally declared early in 2013 (just too late for last year’s DWWA competition). This year we received 13 wines from the 2011 vintage and all won awards. We gave two Golds, but there were no ugly ducklings. Given the way young vintage Port evolves, all the medal winners will ultimately emerge as beautiful swans in 15 to 20 years.

Written by Decanter

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