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Tuesday, 5 November 2013

On Madeira - The Tasting‏

A tasting of Madeira wines led by Rui Falcao at the Portuguese embassy in London

It is a special tasting where the youngest vintage is 2001 - all these wines were very impressive for their refreshing acidity, aged complexity and intensity.

Henriques & Henriques, Single Harvest Sercial 2001 a mid-level wine, it is an amber mahogany in the glass.

Aromas of antique leather, roasted nuts, ginger and fresh acidity - on the palate there is toffee, caramel, roasted nut bitterness. It feels dry, but actually has 50g/l of sugar.

Match with blue cheese, cured ham or drink as an aperitif. Good.

Justino's Madeira Wines, Harvest 1995 Tinto Negra, half-dry. Dark mahogany in the glass, aromas of cooked mixed fruit and spice with a minty eucalyptus bite. Rich and sweet on the palate with raisins, Christmas spice and fruitcake. Good.

Vinhos Barbeito, Verdelho Frasqueira 1992 made by the enfant terrible of Madeira who is constantly experimenting and whose signature is high acidity.

Dark mahogany, aromas of fresh acidity. On the palate, it is rich and savoury with cooked fruit, roasted nuts and spices and a geeky intensity. Long, linear acidity. Good.

Susan Hulme MW who was also there described it as "clean, precise and nervy - a surprising discovery".

Blandy's Madeira, Bual Harvest 1996 from an established but innovative producer. Dark mahogany in the glass, antique leather, spice and cooked fruit on the nose - said to be prominent "curry" aromas, but I did not especially find this.

Rich cooked fruit on the palate, with spice and long acidity that seems to go on forever - zesty and intense with orange peel aromas. Very Good.

Pereira D'Oliveira, Bual 1984 the smallest producer on Madeira, a family-owned company dating back to 1850. A bit crazy, they still have a barrel of 1850 Madeira that they bottle on demand, so each bottling is different.

The colour of used engine oil, with a raisiny, cooked fruit nose. Raisiny, coffee and intense on the palate - long and savoury with a persistent finish.

Described as "bottled electricity" it is intense, muscular and vibrant - a savoury wine with sweetness; match with wild boar with chestnuts, or coffee and bitter chocolate. Very Good indeed.

Other related articles
On Madeira - The Background‏
On Madeira - The Low-Down‏

Madeira Wine Institute - website

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