WineHandpicked by IWSC

13 award-winning ports to try

From colheita tawny ports to vintage bottlings offering exceptional value, check out this selection of fortified wines declared the best ports in 2021 by the IWSC

Words by IWSC Judges

Inside a port cellar in Porto
Handpicked by IWSC

Whisper it, but things are changing in the world of port. For decades it’s been regarded as a post-dinner staple beloved of the Brits, but younger drinkers are starting to discover this most traditional of fortified wines.

Not only that, but there’s a new category – rosé port – that bridges the gap between ruby and white, while mixologists are now using various styles to add fruity depth to their cocktails. Port drunk by millennials – whatever next? But this is a most-welcome boost for this particular industry, which has suffered with a rather stuffy image for too long.

The traditional styles are still very popular, however, and with good reason – vintage port remains a great-value product, and the best bottles are exceptionally long lived, as are colheita ports – tawny ports from a single year.


Douro Valley vineyards in the sun
A view across Portugal's Douro Valley, where grapes are grown and port is made before cellaring takes place in Porto

Colheitas and other tawnies performed strongly at this year’s IWSC, with some incredibly high scores. Sogevinus Fine Wines Barros Colheita 1974 achieved a remarkable 98/100, with the judges hailing its ‘superlative concentration and complexity juxtaposed with excellent freshness.’ Sogrape Vinhos’ Sandeman 40 YO Tawny NV fared almost as well, scoring 96/100 and offering ‘notes of candied tropical fruit, dried stone fruit and hazelnut.’ Kopke’s Colheita 2004 was another Gold winner, drawing praise for its ‘juicy and harmonious’ finish and ‘attractive pepper and spice notes.’

All wines at the 2022 IWSC were judged blind by an expert panel. In charge was Dirceu Vianna Junior MW, assisted by fellow Master of Wine Matthew Forster, director of Theatre of Wine retailer Jason Millar and Marks and Spencer wine buyer Dror Nativ.

It’s encouraging to see the fortified wine finding its way into the hands of new drinkers. There were fears that its drinkers were a dying breed, but the new styles and ways of drinking it look set to keep it going for some years yet. Here are the very best ports to try from this year’s IWSC.

Kopke port pipes on a boat of the river Douro
Port pipes from Kopke making their journey down the River Douro to rest and mature in the city of Porto - the producer's fortified wines won big at the IWSC 2021

How do we judge these wines?

We run a tightly structured, rigorous wine tasting process. That means that each wine sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC wine judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the wine industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.

How do we score these wines?

Only the best wines sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, wines have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.

More from Club Oenologique

Club O is an exclusive community and the go-to platform for wine and spirit lovers. Our flagship Club Oenologique magazine offers even more insights for enthusiasts and collectors. Based in London, our editorial team tells informative, inspirational stories from the world of wine and spirits, gastronomy and travel, as well as covering recommendations and the latest trends in drink. You can take a look at our Explained series, for instance, where we’re tackling grape varieties, regions and styles of wine and spirits. Alternatively, visit our Ask the Sommelier section, where experts answer your wine-related questions.