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February 11, 2007

Vintage Madeiras (Frasqueira) and Soleras

1980
Artur de Barros e Sousa Lda. Boal

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, no crusting.
Color:
Pale bright iodine.
Nose:
Vinous, caramell, harmonious.
Palate:
Medium sweetness, nice caramell with toffee, some fruity ginger cake, medium finish.
Footnote:
Tasted 10/2003.

1963
Leacock Sercial

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make.
Color:
Pale tawny with yellow-greenish rim.
Nose:
Very strong notes of lemon, a little spirity.
Palate:
Very concentrated, very fruity, lots of acidity, lemon and more lemon, almost with a sweet impression because of all the fruity aromas, long dry finish with a slightly bitter lemon note. This wine is powerful and will probably age very well. Mouthcleansing!
Footnote:
Tasted 10/2003.

1957
D'Oliveira Old Wine Sweet

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, light crusting.
Color:
Rather dark brown with iodine rim.
Nose:
Some volatile acidity, molasses, burnt coffee, sweetness.
Palate:
A little spirity ar first, then some fruity sweetness with the typical burnt taste, coffee, ashes, roasted nuts, good backing acidity, very balanced with the sweet finish. After 48 hours nicely rounded and harmonious, less coffee and molasses now, fruity sweetness.
Footnote:
Tasted 6/2001, 21% volume of alcohol.

1936
H. M. Borges Boal

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, very short driven cork with wax cover, very moist and in excellent condition with a handwritten 1936 on it - strange. No crusting.
Color:
Rather pale iodine (for a Boal) with orange rim. Little sediment.
Nose:
Strong nose with a little acetone at first, then fruity treacle and ginger cake.
Palate:
Quite strong impression of burnt aromas, then some apricot marmelade with good sweetness and corresponding acidity. Some coffee-like toffee-ish aromas follow and end with an ashy, slightly bitter but very aromatic finish of medium length. Directly compared to the Amaro wine of the same year, this Boal offers much more complexity.
Footnote:
Tasted 12/2006.

1936
Antonio Amaro "Primera" full rich

Bottle:
Deeply punted bottle of industrial make, long driven cork with lead foil cover, very moist and in excellent condition. No crusting.
Color:
Medium-dark iodine color with greenish-orange rim. Little sediment.
Nose:
Harmonious but rather volatile nose with only little apricot and orange.
Palate:
Harmonious with medium sweetness and some acidity, well counterbalanced. Directly compared to the Borges Boal of the same year however, this wine is lacking some depth. Coffee goes first, then some ashes with a rather pungent and bitter aftertaste that doesn't last for long.
Footnote:
Tasted 12/2006. As explained in the chapter about "Types of Wine", the wines of Antonio Amaro were spanish fakes, but this one tasted very well like a Madeira wine of medium quality.

1935
H. M. Borges Boal

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, very short stopper cork with wax cover, light crusting.
Color:
Medium dark iodine with orange rim. Little sediment.
Nose:
Ginger cake, molasses, honey, very rounded and harmonious, very intense for such a rather young wine, filling the whole room within minutes.
Palate:
Good sweetness to start with, then ginger cake, molasses and good corresponding acidity, all quite powerful and impressive. After two hours of breathing the wine became much more rounded, soft, harmonious. Very long finish with interesting molasses and balsamico notes.
Footnote:
Tasted 6/2005.

1930
Adega Exportadora de Vinhos da Madeira Lda. Genuine Rich

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, light crusting, short and crumbly cork under lead foil.
Color:
Orange-red with iodine rim, a strange color.
Nose:
A little volatile acidity at first, then caramel, burnt sweetness, a lot of ripe fruit, especially mirabelle, all rather short.
Palate:
Lots of alcohol (22% volume), a little spirity at first, after a few minutes beginning to soften, becoming more rounded. Sweet fruits, then some dark notes of coffee, ashes, caramel, ending with a slightly bitter and medium long finish. Nice and harmonious, though not in the top flight.
Footnote:
Tasted 9/2002.

1927
D'Oliveira Bastardo

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, driven cork of medium length with wax cover, moist and in excellent condition.
Color:
This wine displayed a slightly red iodine color.
Nose:
Dried fruits, some coffee and I also detected a strange almost strawberry like flavor.
Palate:
The palate showed some bitter toffee aromas, coffee again with some sweet richness but then a dry finish of medium length.
Footnote:
Tasted at the Great Seattle Madeira Tasting 01/2007. This Bastardo wine came from the Adegas de Torreao in Funchal. After the owner Vasco Lojas had died and none of his descendants wanted to take over the company, D'Olivieras bought most of the Torreao stock of old wines. The low yielding Bastardo grape seems to be extinct nowadays and only a few vintage wines are still around. I do admit that I was a little dissapointed because I had expected more from this particular wine.

1915
Cossart Gordon Verdelho Solera

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, with irregular shape and imprinted "CG 1745" on the bottle, light crusting.
Color:
Dark Mahogany with slight orange reflexes, yellow-greenish rim.
Nose:
Lots of volatile acidity to start with, acetone, then some ammonia, after 48 hours rounded and sweet.
Palate:
Very spirity, acetone, ammonia, hardly drinkable, little sweetness. After 48 hours much better, harmonious and seet fruit with good acidity, long and slightly bitter finish.
Footnote:
Tasted 2/2001, a typical example of how important the early decanting of old Madeira wines really is, 21% volume of alcohol.

1912
D'Oliveira Verdelho

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, driven cork of medium length with wax cover, moist and in excellent condition.
Color:
The color was a medium dark mahogany with tawny rim.
Nose:
In the nose you could detect sweet dried fruits with ginger bread, but it seemed not quite clean to me.
Palate:
On the palate there was coffee and then some chocolate, good balance of sweetness and acidity and a nice rootbeer flavor, but just at the end you had a subdued taste like decaying wood.
Footnote:
Tasted at the Great Seattle Madeira Tasting 01/2007. This Verdelho came from the year the Titanic sunk. When tasting old Madeira wines it is sometimes difficult to shut out the historic background of the wines and the fascination that arises from it.

1908
Companhia Regional de Exportacao de Vinhos da Madeira Malmsey

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, light crusting on one side, short branded cork, very crumbly, under lead foil, tax stamp on the bottle.
Color:
Iodine, a little cloudy, tawny rim.
Nose:
Fruit and caramel, burnt and singed notes.
Palate:
Burnt sweet toffee with lots of mouthwatering acidity, caramel, very long finish with more toffee.
Footnote:
Tasted 2/2003, 19,5% volume of alcohol.

1907
Blandy Bual

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, driven cork of medium length with wax cover, moist and in excellent condition.
Color:
This 1907 Boal was of a dark mahogany color, just a little darker than the D'Oliveira 1903.
Nose:
The nose also displayed some darker aromas, more on the roasted side with coffee, vanilla and toffee but very soft and rounded.
Palate:
The palate was very accessable, easy to drink with good acidity but very harmonious, then some vanilla and butter fudge, very creamy and soft.
Footnote:
Tasted at the Great Seattle Madeira Tasting 01/2007.

1905
Luiz Filipe Costa Moscatel

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, light crusting, very oxydized and crumbly cork of medium length.
Color:
Medium dark iodine with golden rim.
Nose:
Intense honey and sweetness, filling the room in seconds, very harmonious.
Palate:
Very sweet, lots of honey, soft and rounded, bitter finish of medium length with coffee and ashes. Definitely not very typical for Moscatel but nevertheless very pleasant.
Footnote:
Tasted 12/2005. The only bottle of this producer I have ever encountered.

1903
D'Oliveira Bual

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, driven cork of medium length with wax cover, moist and in excellent condition.
Color:
This wine had a dark mahogany color with orange rim.
Nose:
The nose was very strong and harmoniuos, vanilla, toffee and a little beef bouillon.
Palate:
The palate was complex with vanilla, toffee and dried fruits, powerful and still seemed a little raw like it needed even more time to develop (and that after more than 100 years...). The long and powerful finish displayed some bitter coffee aromas at the end and seemed also a little raw. Well, may be it does need more time?
Footnote:
Tasted at the Great Seattle Madeira Tasting 01/2007.

1900
D'Oliviera Verdelho

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, driven cork of medium length with wax cover, moist and in excellent condition.
Color:
Clean mahogany color with a iodine rim and just a little glycerin on the glass.
Nose:
The nose had some volatile acidity, ginger bread and some nice burnt flavors to it.
Palate:
In the mouth there was a pleasant balance of sweetness and acidity and some coffee, but the wine lacked a little depth. The finish was rather short.
Footnote:
Tasted at the Great Seattle Madeira Tasting 01/2007. Also a very old bottling tasted in 8/2002 with a long bitter coffee finish and more complexity.

1900
Barbeito Malvasia

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, driven cork of medium length with wax cover, moist and in excellent condition.
Color:
This wine was a llittle cloudy from transport. The color was a rather cold mahogany.
Nose:
The nose had a strong marmalade flavor with some strawberry and tomato to it.
Palate:
It tasted very powerful with lots of vanilla and brown sugar, very concentrated with rich sweetness and good acidity. The finish was just a little hot.
Footnote:
Tasted at the Great Seattle Madeira Tasting 01/2007.

1898
Barbeito Sercial

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, driven cork of medium length with wax cover, moist and in excellent condition.
Color:
The color was just a little lighter than the 1862 D'Oliveira Sercial, being more of a golden tawny with golden rim.
Nose:
The nose displayed some burnt toffee and a muddy saltiness that seemed a little to much like wet cardboard. I do not think that this was a bottle stink because the wine had only been bottled 4 years ago and this muddiness was only just detectable.
Palate:
The palate was a little lighter and less acidic than the 1862 D'Oliveira Sercial, some nuttiness there and a nice bitter finish.
Footnote:
Tasted at the Great Seattle Madeira Tasting 01/2007. This Sercial came from the Afonso family in Camara de Lobos and was bought by Barbeitos and bottled in 2002. The wine had at least spent 80 years in wood and had then been transferred to demijohns.

1885
Barbeito Verdelho

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, driven cork of medium length with wax cover, moist and in excellent condition.
Color:
This wine had a clear and bright mahogany color with slightly orange rim and lots of glycerin on the glass.
Nose:
The nose for me was the most favorite of all the Verdelhos at the tasting because it was very accessable, very mild, round and harmonious, no VA, but a nice toffee flavor to it.
Palate:
On the contrary the palate seemed to be rather one-dimensional and light, with toffee, very little orange peel and a rather short finish. .
Footnote:
Tasted at the Great Seattle Madeira Tasting 01/2007. In my opinion this was the weakest wine of the first flight

1878
Henriques & Henriques Sercial Solera

Bottle:
Bottle of industrial make, leaking from the transport, only half full. The bottle had just a short stopper-cork and the wine was leaking through the foil cover. Little crusting, indicating that the bottle had been stored upright.
Color:
Bright mahogany with orange rim, a little cloudy when tasted first, directly after receiving the leaking bottle in its wet packing.
Nose:
Wonderful and very harmonious bouquet of burnt aromas with a sharp lemon overtone.
Palate:
Powerful acidity comes first, then lemon and after that a rounded richness. The acidity is mouthwatering, balanced by the richness that almost gives the impression of sweetness, but the wine is definitely dry. Long finish with bitter lemon and persisting acidity. A wonderful wine with cleansing acidity.
Footnote:
Tasted 12/2006. To bad half of it had been lost on the transport.

1878
Justino Henriques Filhos Lda. "Fanal" Fine Madeira Wine

Bottle:
Modern bottle of early industrial make, neck label with vintage, wicker cap, short leaking crumbling cork, light crusting, small tax stamp on the bottle.
Color:
Bright mahogany with orange rim.
Nose:
Intense and harmonious, filling the room in seconds, molasses, beef bouillon, orange peel.
Palate:
Lots of alcohol but not spirity, good sweetness with lots of balanced acidity, mouthwatering, caramel, molasses, roasted coffee beans and the orange peels again. Long orangy finish. Reminded me of Boal (even though no grape variety was mentioned on the label) but it could also be a good Tinta Negra Mole wine.
Footnote:
Tasted 1/2002.

1877
Hedobald Petersens Madeira Crown Sercial

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, light crusting, chipped bottle neck so the short stopper-cork was leaking a little.
Color:
Bright iodine with orange rim.
Nose:
Beef bouillon with molasses and rather pleasant soy sauce note. Very harmonious.
Palate:
An overall impression of harmony, molasses, medium sweetness and good acidity to go with it. Long finish of ginger cake, toffee and a slightly bitter coffee note. Not at all typical for a Sercial, much more like a Boal. 4 hours after decanting the wine started to dry out.
Footnote:
Tasted 12/2004.

1875
D'Oliveira Moscatel

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, driven cork of medium length with wax cover, moist and in excellent condition.
Color:
The Moscatel showed a dark iodine, almost mahogany color.
Nose:
The nose was rather subdued, none of the typical Moscatel flavors, a little dried fruit and raisins only.
Palate:
The palate was very sweet and concentrated, good acidity, a little cacao and cadied orange peel. The finish was rather short.
Footnote:
Tasted at the Great Seattle Madeira Tasting 01/2007. Compared to other desert Moscatels like moscatel de Setubal I wonder were all the typical Moscatel flavors went.

1863
Barbeito Bual

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, driven cork of medium length with wax cover, moist and in excellent condition.
Color:
The color was a clear dark iodine with tawny rim.
Nose:
The nose started with a little vanilla and dried fruits, but then some vegetable-like rather dirty smell with rotten strawberries.
Palate:
In the mouth you had some vanilla again, also toffee and balsamic vinegar that also showed in the rather short finish.
Footnote:
Tasted at the Great Seattle Madeira Tasting 01/2007. Clearly this was the weakest wine in the second flight.

1862
D'Oliveira Sercial

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, driven cork of medium length with wax cover, moist and in excellent condition.
Color:
This wine was a little cloudy, displaying a iodine color with a little red. Lots of glycerin there.
Nose:
The nose had some volatile acidity that did not bother at all. Other aromas I could detect in the nose were burnt coffee and orange peel.
Palate:
The palate was quite explosive with lots of acidity, counterbalanced by some richness and a nice roasted coffee taste that seemed a little atypical for Sercial. The finish was very long and bitter with an ashy taste to it.
Footnote:
Tasted at the Great Seattle Madeira Tasting 01/2007. For me this was the better of the two Sercials tasted and the second best wine in the first flight.

1860
Blandy Sercial Solera

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, light crusting, lead foil cap with imprinted grape, short stopper cork.
Color:
Bright mudy iodine.
Nose:
Very subdued, little fruit, some toffee, not impressive.
Palate:
Very dry, some spirity alcohol, then piercing lemon-like acidity, long bitter lemon finish. After a few hours the wine was no longer spirity but the lemon-like acidity stayed, making this a mouth-cleansing classic Sercial.
Footnote:
Tasted 3/2004.

1850
D'Oliveira Verdelho

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, driven cork of medium length with wax cover, moist and in excellent condition.
Color:
The wine was very cloudy, probably because of the recent transport by plane into the U.S. just a week ago. The color was a nice medium dark mahogany with tawny rim, again lots of glycerin on the glass.
Nose:
The nose had quite a lot of volatile acidity and was very rich, with toffee, dried fruits and some caramel.
Palate:
On the palate this wine was very rich, with a good sweetness and well balanced acidity. There were also toffee, caramel, coffee and orange peel, all very harmonious but multilayered. The finish was slightly bitter at the end, very long and just a little hot.
Footnote:
Tasted at the Great Seattle Madeira Tasting 01/2007. This wine was my personal favorite of the first flight. For me this was also one of the top three wines of the tasting! This wine had spent 138 years in cask before being bottled in 1988. The bottle had stencils on one side and a very colorful label of the German importer on the other side.

1846
Blandys Terrantez

Bottle:
Punted bottle of early industrial make. Crusting indicates storing in a lying position. Short and moist cork slightly leaking.
Color:
Medium-dark iodine with tawny rim, glass-coating viscosity.
Nose:
Very powerful nose with lots of different aromas but very harmoniously mixed. Also some strong beefy tones are evident.
Palate:
This is a super-concentrated wine with almost too much acidity. Powerful grape aroma, very rich and the acidity is overwhelming. I did not think that such concentration was possible in a wine. Very long and slightly bitter finish with persisting acidity and richness. Long after that I could still taste some burnt coffee in the corners of my mouth.
Footnote:
Tasted 06/2003, level brought up with sterile glass balls and recorked. I kept the empty glass for two days as a room deodorant. Wow - I had expected so little from this wine and then it was such a marvelous experience. This bottle was opened again at Roy Hersh's great Seattle Madeira Wine tasting 01/2007 and it was just as good in 2007 as it had been in 2003. Now I also noted a vanilla richness i did not get before.

1839
Terrantez (private source)

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, light crusting, short moist cork, unfortunately leaking a little and destroying the beautiful coat of arms wax seal on top of it.
Color:
Golden iodine color.
Nose:
Intense sweetness with volatile acidity, ginger cake.
Palate:
Very, very concentrated palate, intensely fruity with good acidity and only a little sweetness. Bitter finish with medium length, showing some of that ginger cake again together with a harmonious coffee note. This is the classic Terrantez style!
Footnote:
Tasted 3/2006.

1836
Acciaioly Malmsey

Bottle:
Bottle of early industrial make with colorful label, driven cork of medium length with wax cover, moist and in excellent condition.
Color:
This Malmsey had an intense medium dark tawny color.
Nose:
The nose displayed marmalade flavors with cherry and a little soapiness that did not really bother.
Palate:
The palate showed a high concentration, lots of toffee aroma and a wonderful creamy, almost oily finish.
Footnote:
Tasted at the Great Seattle Madeira Tasting 01/2007. Unfortunately Acciaioly went out of business half a century ago, so their wines get harder to find all the time.

1835
Nicolas Madere Imperiale

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, completely crusted, lots of sediment, heavy lead foil cap over a long, crumbly but moist cork, branded with "Nicolas depuis 1822".
Color:
Brilliant iodine with golden rim, certainly one of the most beautiful madeira wine colors I have ever seen.
Nose:
Sweet ginger cake with only little volatile acidity. Also some burnt coffee and a distinct toffee note, all very harmonious.
Palate:
Very spirity at first with lots of volatile acidity. After 3 hours beginning to soften, medium sweetness balanced by fierce piercing acidity (now I know what Michael Broadbent means when he writes of rapier-like acidity!), coffee, fresh bread, some hints of the cough medicine like taste that old Malmsey sometimes has. It all ended with a superlong bitter finish. A multilayered wine of extreme concentration!
Footnote:
Tasted 2/2004. When asking the company of Nicolas, Paris about the wine, they told me it had been bottled in the 1980ies. They advised me not to open it, because "you will only have taste of acidity, best to keep it just for collection." How wrong they were!

1834
Barbeito Malvasia

Bottle:
Modern stencilled bottle of industrial make, driven cork of medium length with wax cover, moist and in excellent condition.
Color:
The color was a medium tawny.
Nose:
A strange chemical nose that had marmelade, honey and dried fruit. The strange note would not clear and I think Roy hit it best with calling it an artificial "plastic" note.
Palate:
The taste was rich with coffee and toffee, but also had a strange quality to it, something oily, leathery, artificial.
Footnote:
Tasted at the Great Seattle Madeira Tasting 01/2007. This is the oldest wine of Barbeitos now available in Funchal after they bottled up all of the 1795 Terrantez. May be this was a faulty bottle? I have had this wine several times before and it can definitely do much better.

1830
Quinta do Serrado Malmsey

Bottle:
Modern stencilled bottle of industrial make, driven cork of medium length with wax cover, moist and in excellent condition.
Color:
This wine had a brilliant iodine color with a slightly redish center, a little lighter than other Malmseys.
Nose:
The nose showed vanilla, toffee, some figs and was very rounded.
Palate:
On the palate you had a very impressive balance of power between acidity and sweetness, together with toffee, some leathery aromas and concentrated brown sugar. The finish was very long and I liked this wine a lot.
Footnote:
Tasted at the Great Seattle Madeira Tasting 01/2007. I gave it the second place in the third flight.

1828
Blandy Boal Solera

Bottle:
Modern bottle of early industrial make, light crusting, little sediment, short and moist cork, only kept in place by the wax cover.
Color:
Iodine brown with lots of glycerine, orange rim.
Nose:
Subdued fuity nose, harmonious.
Palate:
Very concentrated, medium sweetness with lots of acidity to balance, fruity and mouthwatering, long and harmonious finish, excellent!
Footnote:
Tasted 12/2002, 23% of volume alcohol.

1827
Quinta do Serrado Boal

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, handpainted, driven cork of medium length with wax cover, moist and in excellent condition.
Color:
Brilliant dark mahogany with tawny rim.
Nose:
In the nose this wine was all vanilla and syrupy molasses, very rich, rounded and harmonious.
Palate:
On the palate this Boal was super concentrated, with maximum acidity yet well balanced with considerable sweetness. There were lots of vanilla again, toffee, brown sugar and maple syrup. The multilayered finish just went on and on and on.
Footnote:
Tasted at the Great Seattle Madeira Tasting 01/2007. For me this was the winner of the second flight and one of the top three wines of the tasting! This wine from Camara de Lobos had been matured in oak casks until 1935 and had then been put into demijohns. Just before the sale at Chistie's in 1989 it had been bottled in 1988.

1818
Listao (private source)

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, light crusting, red wax seal slightly broken, but not leaking.
Color:
Pale iodine.
Nose:
Caramel, honey, orange peel, ginger cake, little alcohol, very harmonious.
Palate:
Spirity and rather dried out, lots of acidity, ashes, burnt coffee and then it is gone - just a short bitter finish.
Footnote:
Tasted 10/2005. The only old Listrao I have ever had. The bottle had a stencilled LISTAO 1818 on it, why the R was missing I don't know. The nose clearly showed an old wine and the palate indicated an old wine too, well beyond its peak. Still I can't rule out the fact that the bottle might have been a fake. 20% of volume alcohol, so it sure was a fortified wine.

1799
R.V. seco (Reverva Velha, private source)

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, light crusting, red wax seal slightly broken.
Color:
Pale iodine.
Nose:
Some fruity sweetness, honey, little alcohol, subdued but very harmonious.
Palate:
Dry with very much acidity, mouthwatering, oily feel in the mouth, very concentrated with little fruit. Short finish with coffee and ginger cake, already a little dried out and tired.
Footnote:
Tasted 10/2005. From the same source as the 1818 Listao, also stencilled and possibly a fake too, even though nose and palate were consistent with a very old wine beyond its peak.

1795
Barbeito Terrantez

Bottle:
Modern bottle of industrial make, light crusting.
Color:
Medium tawny.
Nose:
Quite flowery and fruity nose, very harmonious.
Palate:
Lots of acidity, only very little sweetness, an overall impression of a fruity dryness that lead to a long and slightly bitter finish, still with powerful acidity.
Footnote:
Tasted 10/2003 in Funchal and 1999 in Funchal. The bottle in 10/2003 had been opened 4 months ago and may be that was the reason why the wine did not taste as fruity as in 1999 when the bottle had only been opened two days before the tasting.

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