IWSC 2024 Wine Judging. Judges’ deliberations on Portuguese wines

Wine news

Wed 1 May 2024

By Mila Gorchakova

On the second day of the IWSC 2024 Wine Judging, our experts tasted a variety of wines from Portugal. This year, we received hundreds of entries from all regions of Portugal with judges praising the diversity of indigenous grapes and styles on show.

“Always lovely to see the championing of indigenous varieties and it’s clear that regional typicity is coming through in each of the wines,” said the judges.

The Portugal panels were overseen by the IWSC Wine Judging Committee member Master of Wine Dirceu Vianna Junior.

“A solid performance from Portugal with one gold, many silver and bronze medals awarded. Some of the wines may have been missing a little bit of complexity to achieve a gold but, overall, the consistent quality and the highly enjoyable drinking experience that these wines offer is truly impressive,” shared Junior.

The judges appreciated the variety of Vinho Verde styles that entered this year’s competition, noting: Vinho Verde was impressive, with some of the best examples having an extra year in the bottle to develop more texture.” The panels were delighted to taste some “serious Vinho Verde with minerality and tropical fruits” highlighting that the emphasis on Loureiro as a single variety in Vinho Verde helped elevate the quality of the wines.

Portuguese winemakers are becoming increasingly skillful in managing the alcohol levels, noted the judges: “While we appreciate the difficulties winemakers are facing in Portugal's warmer regions such as Lisboa and Peninsula de Setubal, it is great to see that there is an attempt to keep alcohol levels under control and keep the acidity and freshness in the wines”.

Flights of Lisboa reds, as well as white and red blends from Peninsula de Setubal showed consistent quality with many silver and bronze medals awarded. The judges admired the intensity of fruit supported by real freshness, as well as the careful use of oak in many wines.

The Setubal reds were a real surprise, consistently high-scoring with a couple of real stars. Lisboa Touriga Nacional reds varied in style in oak influence but had some consistency in quality,” shared the judges.

Douro wines also showed freshness with judges praising the well-balanced alcohol levels and the refreshing acidity: “The lighter styles of Douro were a refreshing change from such a warm climate. Alcohol levels were mostly balanced throughout all wines which again, for a warm climate is very impressive. Mostly good winemaking on display. The acidity levels of almost all white wines were very refreshing and mouthwatering”.

The judges spoke highly of the expression of Touriga Nacional from the Dão region, as well as of the overall quality of wines from Alentejo.

“Alentejano reds had a good overall standard with lots of freshness and balance. The Alentejano whites fell into two broad categories - the first being very clean, fruity, unoaked versions, which were all very competently-made wines, while the second category had some oak influence and provided a bit more excitement,” shared the judges.

Overall, it was an interesting day of judging which showcased the consistent quality of Portuguese wines across the board.