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Oddbins Fortified Wine Selection

Pick of the bunch...

Psst, you. We can see you eyeing up the fortified wines; there’s no shame in it. Gone are the days where you find yourself tucked away in some hip underground bar drinking rubbish beer discussing your favourite 90s grunge album. Now you like nothing better than selecting a ridiculously smelly cheese from the local farmers market to go with a luscious bottle of Port. This strange new land of delicious flavours is called… adulthood. And it tastes good.

From intriguingly nutty dry Sherries to fig and honey-laden Tawny Ports and damson, blackcurrant and velvety chocolate Crusted Ports, there is a world of cheese-loving goodness waiting for you just below. In fact you could go crazy and forget the cheese – these beauties are good with everything from almonds to chocolate soufflés or nothing but a dressing gown.

You might find you need something to help tickle the old sweet tooth, in which case we have the unctuous, worryingly-tantalising Duke of Clarence Madeira, which is bursting with juicy flavours of toffee and nuttiness and would serve best being lightly drizzled over some lovely vanilla ice cream.

But just because you’re in adult and this is all very sophisticated and lovely, doesn’t mean you don’t want to experiment – how about mixing it up with Madeira Barbeito’s marmalade and cane sugar-flavoured – yet moreishly refreshing – Boal Reserva. Now turn Brahams up and pretend you’re a real adult.

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  1. Barbadillo Amontillado Spanish Sherry

    Barbadillo Amontillado Sherry NV

    £9.50

    £9.50

    ‘This porridge is too hot!’… ‘This porridge is too cold!’… ‘This porridge is just right.’ So said Goldilocks, before being quite rightly evicted by three disgruntled homeowners...

    Luckily for them she hadn't found their bottle of Barbadillo Amontadillo Sherry! We can't imagine she would have been so quick to find faults with this ones deep amber colour and complex aromas and flavours of dried fruit. Mmm...this sounds just right to us!

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  2. Manzanilla Barbadillo

    Barbadillo Manzanilla Sherry

    £8.75

    £8.75

    Does anything recycle its own refuse quite as romantically as wine does? Crusted Port springs to mind, as does Muscadet Sur Lie, but Manzanilla Sherry takes the slightly salty biscuit.

    As it ages in oak, its light and tangy character is protected from oxidation by the natural formation of a layer of yeast called flor, which seals the surface of the wine and feeds on its compounds and alcohol.

    Oak ageing enables water to evaporate through the wood, maintaining the wine's alcoholic percentage, as well as its delicate body, tanginess and tapas-friendly salty tinge. Bloomin' 'eck, who'd have thought of that? That's what we call flor-ed genius!

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  3. Barbadillo Manzanilla Solear Sherry NV

    Barbadillo Manzanilla Solear Sherry NV

    £6.25

    £6.25

    We have some riddles for you.

    “Voiceless it cries, wingless flutters; toothless it bites, mouthless mutters.” What is it? The wind.

    “It’s salty but pleasant, dry but refreshing, small but mighty.” What is it? Solear Manzanilla by Antonio Barbadillo of course!

    Yes, don’t be fooled by its size, there is a whole lotta dry, nutty, sea-salty goodness in this wee bottle. One to watch Almovodar films and pick at olives with.

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  4. Barbadillo Pale Cream Fortified Wine Sherry

    Barbadillo Pale Cream Sherry

    £9.50

    £9.50

    With the light fluffiness of a cloud, combined with the delicate, mesmeric nuances of almonds and freshly baked baguettes, this is a little dream of a Sherry. Hints of coconut enter the gentle fray, from the American oak used in the Solera ageing casks.

    We’re not trying to psychically drive you or anything (we’ve been watching too much pseudo-psychoanalytical TV, clearly), but were you to serve up a desert of homemade crème brülée, this would go really rather well.

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  5. Blandy's Duke of Clarence Madeira

    Blandy's Duke of Clarence Madeira 70cl

    £15.00

    £15.00

    We can thank the existence of this Portuguese sweetie to a very happy accident of history. Way back when, when merchants shipped their wares in wooden ships, the wine in the hold would often overheat, resulting in a delicious, caramelised wine.

    Winemakers have sought to recreate this effect by baking the wine ever since – and now Blandy’s have perfected the technique. This Madeira, made with the more unusual Tinta Negra Mole, is toffeed, ripe and nutty Madeira, with ample sweetness and a clean, tart finish. A most serendipitous wine indeed.

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  6. Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Gran Reserva Sherry 1986 - Half Bottle 375ml

    Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Gran Reserva Sherry 1986 - Half Bottle 375ml

    Now £22.50

    Was £25.00

    £22.50

    We’re trying to think of ways to describe this well-aged Pedro Ximenex that don’t have us cooing and gushing like some over-excitable newlyweds. Darn it, we just can’t help it: we are in love with this wine and we want the world to know!

    Here are some words we think of, as we gaze into the rich, dark depths in our glass: cocoa, liquorice, tobacco pouch, rosemary, black olives, Arabic coffee, vanilla and cinnamon. But how feeble words sound compared to the immeasurable depth of feeling in our hearts. We need to sit down.

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  7. Churchill's Ten Years Old Tawny Port 50cl

    Churchill's 10 Year Old Tawny Port 500ml

    £18.00

    £18.00

    If you're someone for whom Port is weighed down by a connotation of stuffy old institutions, bizarre ceremonies and old school ties, don't let a snob from your past prevent you from trying this outstanding wine; this port will change your mind. If you've never tried a tawny, plunge into the depths of the rich, nutty, smoky flavours that abound here and contemplate the life of a convert. This example is versatile enough to be chilled before serving and doubles up as either an excellent aperitif or after-dinner treat.

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  8. Churchill's Dry White Port

    Churchill's Dry White Port

    £16.00

    £16.00

    Port, traditionally, is saved for a luxurious, après dinner treat and is usually ruby in colour and lavishly, decadently rich and sweet. Not so here. No – this is that marvellous, rare thing – a white Port – and it much prefers to work its magic before dinner. Shove this in your guests' hands when they come in from the cold and you’ll be their BFF (Best Friend Forever didn’tcha know). Off-dry, nutty and toasty, and balanced with beautiful blossom and dried fig flavours, this is a mellow, subtle and complex.

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  9. Churchills 20yo Tawny Port

    Churchills 20 Year Old Tawny Port 500ml

    £27.00

    £27.00

    Port may traditionally be a festive treat but, trust us, if someone puts a pecan pie and a glass of Churchill’s 20 year old Tawny Port under your nose, you should not hesitate. We’re talking Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, whether you’re mowing the lawn or doing Pilates on a hill top, you need to down tools, park your bum down and savour its toasty, warmly sweet yet pleasingly dry goodness right there. With the pie. Do not forget the pie.

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  10. Fonseca Bin 27 Finest Reserve Port

    Fonseca Bin 27 Finest Reserve NV

    £14.00

    £14.00

    This shopping malarky is getting ridiculous. I could be standing here for hours. But a decision needs to be made now. The shop's tasting notes say that Fonseca Bin 27 Finest Port is 'The best blended port you're gonna find today or ever.' Well, that's easy for them to say.....

    Suddenly a lovely old lady sticks a bony elbow in my innards, shoves past and grabs a bottle. Then a spotty student also ducks in whilst exclaiming to his mate. 'That's totes dads fav'.

    I turn to start ranting about that bloody none existent word 'totes'. Before I open my mouth a bank robber politely steps past to buy a bottle with his new earnings. Turning around I find that my friend has already asked the staff and bought the same one.

    Bin 27 Finest Port. 'Come on J-dog. The staff here said they tasted it last night. Apparently, it's totes amazeballs dude'

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  11. Fonseca Crusted Port NV

    Fonseca Crusted Port NV

    £18.00

    £18.00

    Fictional WW1 fighter pilot ace Biggles would have definitely favoured port. Especially this crusted port. It's a traditional, rare style of port blended from full bodied wines & aged in oak casks for four years.

    Its powerful dark berry and dried fruit flavours would have kept his tummy warm as he bravely traversed enemy territory in his sopwith camel aeroplane. The subtle eucalyptus finish would also comfort him as he hopped into bed, in his flannel pyjamas, after a good day thrashing Erich von Stalhein's forces.

    One things for sure, if Biggle was in a pickle. He'd have a bottle of this crusted port stowed away in his flying togs.

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  12. Gonzalez Byass Del Duque Amontillado Sherry 30 Year Old

    Sometimes we really wonder how certain winemaking techniques were arrived at. Sherry making techniques in particular.

    After fortifying the wine to halt the alcoholic fermentation and keep it sweet (fair enough), someone must have then thought, ‘what if we let it sit in a wooden tub for, maybe, five, no no… ten, sod it make that thirty years. Yup, then let’s see what it tastes like then’.

    Well, these bonkers Andalusians, whoever they are, were obviously geniuses with much acumen, as this is precisely the way to produce moreish, almost umami-tasting Amontillado like this.

    The 30 years in American oak casks has transformed the humble Palomino grape into an unctuous, vanilla, cedar and fig-flavour bonanza of a Sherry. Three cheers for the vinous vanguard!

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  13. Gonzalez Byass Vina AB Amontillado Seco

    Gonzalez Byass Vina AB Amontillado Seco Sherry

    £13.75

    £13.75

    Rather brilliantly, Antonio Flores, the Master Blender at Gonzales Byass since 1980, was conceived in the room above the Tio Pepe cellar in Jerez...

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  14. Grahams 10 Year Old Tawny Port

    Graham's 10 Year Old Tawny Port

    £21.50

    £21.50

    We’re going to put our neck on the line here and say that we have a favourite talk show host. That host is Graham Norton. Sorry Jonathan and Alan, but Graham’s the man for Oddbins.

    Why? Because he is very natural and easy with his guests, accompanying them on whatever flights of fancy they go on. Warm-natured and dry yet charmingly nutty, (now you’ll see where we’re going with this…), he is much like his 10 Year Old Portuguese Tawny Port namesake.

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  15. Graham's Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Port 2004

    Graham's Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Port 2004

    £32.00

    £32.00

    Smoother than George Clooney in a tuxedo, this is a very special Port at its optimum maturity.

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  16. Graham's Vintage Port 1983

    Graham's Vintage Port 1983

    £98.00

    £98.00

    Graham's 1983 Vintage Port is rich and full-bodied and is a real star performer for the vintage. Rich floral and violet aromas, masses of strawberry flavours, very good balance. Long. Subtle finish. Excellent!

    Showing fantastic characteristics of a bottle matured wine, and will only improve with a few more years in your cellar. That is, if you can keep your hands off!

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  17. La Copa Vermouth NV

    La Copa Vermouth NV

    £15.00

    £15.00

    Like something conceived in an Anne Rice novel this elegant Vermouth is a mystery that beckons to be unveiled. A concoction of Oloroso and PX sherries blended with botanicals of wormwood, clove cinnamon, nutmeg, angelica root and cinchona bark.

    Poured into cut-glass and served chilled in the heat of the colonial riverside in New Orleans or in the dead of night in a 19th-century Parisian theatre. A secret whispered in the rolling silence of a boat belly. That becomes a welcome drink offered when arriving after a dusty carriage ride after a day's journey.

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  18. La Quintinye Royal Vermouth Royal Blanc 37.5cl

    Straddling the confluence of floral and herby and dry and sweet, La Quintinye is like a romantic bridge that’s perfect for strolling across at dusk.

    Alter Ego: Ray Davies; It’s definitely Kinky (not like THAT… mind in the gutter, you lot) and it is just perfect for watching a Waterloo Sunset. Even when it’s a touch sweet, it still retains an attractive dryness and earthy, poetic quality.

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  19. La-Quint-Dry

    A curious, fragrant blend of the French ‘vin de liquer’, Pineau de Charentes, white wine and botanicals, there ain’t much that’s similar to La Quintinye Extra Dry.

    Alter Ego: David Byrne; totally idiosyncratic that sings pretty, dry melodies over a crunchy, firm beat. Certainly no Talking Head, this is one cocktail party staple that should always Remain in Light.

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  20. La Quintinye Royal Vermouth Rouge 375ml

    Whoosh! You hear that? That was the sound of ten thousand cherries, prunes and aniseed all splashing down into a mountain lake. That’s not actually how they make La Quintinye Red, but it might as well be.

    Alter Ego: Carmen Miranda; this is one fruity beauty, with enough ripe flavours to send you salsa-ing your way all the way to the cocktail cabinet/shelf. Shake that thing

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  21. Leonor Palo Cortado Sherry

    Leonor Palo Cortado Sherry

    £14.75

    £14.75

    Like a lot of Sherries, Palo Cortado likes to breathe. A lot. It is exposed to air for the entirety of its 12 year ageing in the Leonor Solera ageing system. And, as with humans, a large dose of fresh air does it the world of good and (unlike humans) it develops the most extraordinary hazelnut, toasty oak and caramel flavours but, despite this seemingly sweet flavour profile, is completely, delightfully dry.

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  22. Lustau Manzanilla 'Papirusa' 37.5cl

    Turbid the Crap Viking and his men were lost. Despite the GPS, his longship bumped into the coast of Britain. They parked their boat near the closest wine shop and attacked.

    The staff distracted the thirsty marauders with a beautifully dry sherry that was apple scented yet also reminded them of the salty sea air.

    The manager informed them it was called Manzanilla. They were so amazed by this stunning drink that they decided to give up vikingry, helped restock the shelves on Wednesdays and intimidate people with their new found knowledge of fine sherries.

    Thus their not -so-scary leader became known as Turbid The Vineking for evermore.

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  23. Lustau Moscatel Emilin NV 37.5cl

    Lustau Moscatel Emilin Sherry NV - Half Bottle 375ml

    £11.50

    £11.50

    Sherry is now out of the dusty cupboard and prancing around in trendy bars again (...can you use trendy as a current description of what's upmarket now?). Anyway, don't let all the cool cats in London have all the fun. Sherry is groovy. Sherry is 'with it'. Sherry...ah balls to these on trend terms. Burn the berets. Sherry is simply GREAT.

    This wine is a rare Moscatel version. It has a similar sweetness to the rich PX but is pale in colour. It's sweet dried fruit notes are balanced by citrus and floral flavours. And we sell it. Because we are the coolest, hippest wine shops in town!

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  24. Madeira Barbeito Boal Reserva

    Madeira Barbeito Boal Reserva

    £15.00

    £15.00

    Just as you (probably) wouldn’t choose to watch a saccharin sweet rom-com packed to the rafters with needy American teenagers who really should just count their blessings, but nor would you (probably) want to watch a four-part documentary on paint drying, you don’t want your Madeira to be cloying, and you don’t want it to be too dry.

    Vinhos Barbeito are experts at striking this balance and this marmalade and cane sugar-flavoured – yet moreishly refreshing – Madeira Boal is testament to that.

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  25. Madeira Barbeito Malvasia Reserva

    Madeira Barbeito Malvasia Reserva

    £15.00

    £15.00

    The ethos of Ricardo Diogo, the winemaker at Vinhos Barbeito, is that ‘small is beautiful’. We think he is absolutely right. Take Ronnie Corbett. OK maybe ‘beautiful’ isn’t quite the word, but he certainly knows how to make the most of what he has: Ronnie Barker’s line "I look up to him [John Cleese] because he is upper class, but I look down on him [Corbett] because he is lower class", followed with Corbett saying: "I know my place”, wouldn’t really be the same if Corbett was of an average height. So ‘be small and proud’, we cry!

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  26. Nectar Pedro Ximenez

    Nectar Pedro Ximenez Sherry

    £14.75

    £14.75

    Oozing with dried prune, fig and caramel flavours, the Gonzalez Byass Nectar PX is heady stuff and is made with loving care by the very talented Anotonio Flores, who adroitly says: “How often do you smell something that takes you back to a moment or a person that you loved, or you fell in love with once upon a time? Every perfume changes on every different woman. Every woman smells differently even when wearing the same perfume. And it is the same with wine. Every wine is different when tasted by different people"

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  27. Offley Ruby Port NV

    Offley Ruby Port NV

    £10.50

    £10.50

    It's Easter Lunch. We've had a sort of heatwave. But it's only April and the heatwave has gone again. So really, it definitely is a good...

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  28. Offley Tawny Port NV Fortified Wine

    Offley Tawny Port NV

    £10.50

    £10.50

    Tawny. In the avian world, it refers to a beautiful, golden-coloured owl that is, in fact highly territorial and non-migratory. This is...

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  29. Old Boys 21 Year Old Tawny Port

    Old Boys 21 Year Old Tawny Port 500ml

    £22.00

    £22.00

    ***Silver at Decanter World Wine Awards 2014***

    Can we stereotype slightly? Please? Because this wine, and this winery, really sum up the countries that they come from. The De Bortoli family emigrated to Australia from northern Italy in 1928 and their wines sing with the warmth, humour and joie de vivre that both countries seem to have in bucket loads.

    Their Old Boys 21 Year Old Tawny Port has oodles of vanilla bean, toasted hazelnut, dried fruit and mocha goodness. We reckon it could be something of a mascot for Italian-Australians.

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  30. Pellegrino Marsala Superiore Garibaldi Dolce NV - Half Bottle 375ml
    Marsala is really a wonderful thing. Made in the area around the ancient coastal town of the same name on the far west coast of Sicily, it smacks of Italian sunshine. Indeed, if you’ve used up all your leave this year, this could make a fine replacement for a vacanza Italiana. With figs, prunes and mesmeric caramel depths from its two years in oak barrels, this is a real delight and, at a bargainous £6.50, it is so much cheaper than a holiday.

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  31. Quinta Do Noval 10 YO Tawny Port NV

    Quinta Do Noval 10 YO Tawny Port NV

    Now £19.00

    Was £24.00

    £19.00

    Drinking port can be like opening up those tradional, wooden russian dolls. As you open each doll you reveal another one, another style of port. The first one is like trying basic ruby port-ok not bad, then the next you discover LBV port- which is much better.

    After some generous soul gives you a glass of single vintage port-it's brilliant and you think you have hit the last doll. But then you discover there is one more. The last one.

    A fine tawny port. Silky butterscotch, dried fruits and nutty flavours- completely new flavours compared to the previous ones. You really can't get any further than that.

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  32. Noval Silval 1998 Vintage Port

    Quinta do Noval Silval Vintage Port 1998

    £40.00

    £40.00

    This Port, unlike yours truly, was charming in its youth. Full of swaggering, fresh young fruit, it was a joy to drink, which isn’t always the case for Vintage Ports.

    However, the passage of time has mellowed it out (something we can relate to) even more and now it is a Port of complexity and, dare we say, majesty.

    With flavours of spiced, raisiny fruit, damson and black treacle, it’s fair to say it has aged well and has picked up a few tricks over the years. Noval Silval 1998 has never been more ready.

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  33. Sandeman Founder's Reserve Ruby Port

    Sandeman Founder's Reserve Ruby Port NV 700ml

    Now £11.00

    Was £13.25

    £11.00

    It’s really incredible, but this Port actually has its own song.

    ‘What’s that then?’, we hear you cry. Well, *clears throat and bows exaggeratedly*… “Mr Sandeman has brought me a dream. He’s made the cutest Port that I’ve seen. If you put it to your lips, it tastes like roses and clover. And when you try it your stilton’s lonesome nights are over.”

    As we say, incredible, although we’ll admit that this Port doesn’t really taste that much of clover, but more like cassis and cedar. We wonder what clover tastes like…

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  34. Sandeman Vau Vintage 1999

    Sandeman Vau Vintage 1999

    £26.50

    £26.50

    One in a long list of alternative Port styles that offer those who can’t wait, or can’t afford, the chance to sample a piece of something special.

    This is considered Sandeman’s second label in a declared vintage year, and unlike their straight-up vintage, this in-between Port style can be enjoyed now or after ageing. Rich, juicy, intense and sweet, if you’re looking for a memorable Port for a memorable evening, we can certainly Vau-ch for this!

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  35. Stanton and Killeen Rutherglen Muscat NV - Half Bottle 375ml

    You are what you eat, so the saying goes. And this is manifestly true in Stanton and Killeen’s achingly delicious Rutherglen Muscat.

    What does the wine ‘eat’? It eats up the hot Australian sun, the time-honoured techniques maintained by this family-run winery and it gobbles up the love they put into it. The result? A raisin-rich, nutty, orange blossom and lavender-flavoured amber nectar.

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  36. Taylors Quinta de Vargellas 2002 fortified

    Taylors Quinta de Vargellas Port 2002

    Now £29.00

    Was £33.00

    £29.00

    Quinta de Vargellas has gone through some changes over the years, the vineyards date back to 1820 when the wines were sold to the English market. After the vineyards were devastated by the phylloxera disease in the 1880s, a couple of blokes armed with faith and dedication decided to attempt to rebuild these vineyards.

    Now, the Vargellas vineyards produce sophisticated Ports from vines up to 75 years old, with a focus on sustainability. The 2002 vintage is particularly intense, with rich raisin-y fruit and lots of sweet spices. We say thank you, Taylor Fladgate and Yeatman, for having faith and slogging it out.

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  37. Tio Pepe

    Tio Pepe Sherry - Half Bottle 375ml

    £6.75

    £6.75

    Antonio Flores Pedregosa is truly the nabob, the poo-bah, even the muckety-muck of Tio Pepe, one of the most esteemed wine blenders in the whole of Jerez. His father preceded him at the helm of the operation, and he grew up with Tio Pepe, he lived and breathed Tio Pepe, he was born and even conceived at the Tio Pepe winery. From an early age, then, he wanted nothing more than to be a journalist. Oh. Well, journalism's loss is our gain and instead of articles we have news of this delightful, almond-tinged, yeasty and piquant dry sherry.

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  38. Warres Vintage Port 1980

    Warres Vintage Port 1980

    £79.00

    £79.00

    Port Toes' has to be the CUTEST name for a piece of wine making equipment ever! The name refers to an invention that simulates the traditional method of crushing grapes by workers treading on them.

    Does it summon an image of springy little robot toes tapping away on the grapes like a piano player? The video in Youtube is less evocative, but the important thing is the result is spectacular.

    The nose bears this port house's hallmark perfumed floral and rockrose scent. On the palate are jammy fruits, more floral elegance, excellent length and concentration.

    If you don't like talking about feet maybe 'Port Toes' is not cute. Which means this description is self de-feeting.

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  39. Williams and Humbert Alegria Manzanilla NV

    Williams and Humbert Alegria Manzanilla Sherry NV

    £5.50

    £5.50

    ***2013 IWC Gold, 2013 IWC Trophy, 2013 IWSC Silver, 2013 Decanter Bronze***

    Paola Medina Sheldon. The name might not sit at the front of your mind, although we're not sure if she's ever surfaced from her studies long enough to introduce herself.

    She's the Head Winemaker at Williams and Humbert, a post she took up after obtaining separate degrees in Chemistry and Oenology, and Masters' degrees in Viticulture, Oenology and Legislation. Blimey, our Woodwork 'O' Level certificate can come off the wall now!

    We think she's just about qualified to make this elegant, nutty and salt-tinged Manzanilla. And she'd more than likely be able to take you to the cleaners if you disagreed.

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