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July 25, 2007

Other nectares from heaven

Despite Madeira being my first love when it comes to wines, sometimes I like to try other desert wines out of curiosity (and because there is not enough reasonably priced Madeira around). As with Madeira wine at first, I used to find the sweeter styles more attractive but this is beginning to change.
Anyway, here are a few examples, sorted by region, producer and vintage year. Whenever I know, availability is mentioned in the footnotes. Enjoy!

SHERRY

Alvaro Domecq
PX 1730 20YO

Coffee color, thick and viscous, sweet and fruity nose, sweet palate with lots of acidity, toffee and caramel, raisins as well, long toffee finish. Very good! Tasted 3/2008 at the German Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.
Aranda Cream
Dark tawny, nutty nose and sweet palate with nuts and almonds, slightly yeasty. Made from 80% Oloroso and 20% PX, well balanced. Tasted 3/2008 at the German Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.

Bodegas Hidalgo
Alameda Cream

Bright tawny, nutty nose with figs, sweet palate with nuts, orange peel, lots of acidity and a long nutty finish. Tasted 3/2008 at the German Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.
Triana PX
Coffee color, raisin nose, the palate is very sweet with almonds, figs and raisins, toffee finish of medium length. Tasted 3/2008 at the German Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.

Bodegas Tradicion
Pedro Ximenez 20YO

Very dark brown, almost black in color, complex nose with sweet raisins, figs, cinnamon, amazing palate with 380 gr/l sugar, but high acidity to balance it out perfectly, toffee, raisins, figs, nuts, and cinnamon again, with a long and complex finish, what a perfect dessert wine – or as a dessert on its own! Tasted 3/2008 at the German Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.

Fernando de Castillo
PX 3YO

Dark iodine color, nutty nose with chocolate, sweet palate with nuts and raisins, chocolate finish with medium length, well done for such a young PX. Tasted 3/2008 at the German Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.

Lustau
East India Solera

The famous „hot house sherry“ from Lustau, showing a medium iodine brown, nose with dried fruits and bread, palate quite sweet with dried fruits as well, yeasty, nutty, high acidity, finish of medium length. Even though this sherry undergoes heating like the cheaper Madeira wines, the result is completely different. Tasted 3/2008 at the German Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.
Pedro Ximenez Murillo Sherry Centenary Selection
Bottle:
Golden print on the bottle with a man rolling a cask, impressive and promising.
Nose:
Raisins and candied fruits dominate, but there is also yeasty bread, toffee and molasses.
Palate:
Overwhelming sweetness and very viscous on the palate. Raisins, figs, dried fruits, oaky wood, then shifting to a more roasted and darker group of aromas like toffee and ashes, coffee beans and in the end it finished with fruity acidity. Wow - very impressive and powerful.
Footnote:
Tasted last in 2001, still available.

Sanchez Romate
PX

Dark cola color, sweet nose with dried plums, coffee, raisins and caramel, the very sweet palate is dominated by figs and raisins, very complex, with a long raisin finish. Tasted 3/2008 at the German Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.

Williams & Humpert
Oloroso Reserva Especial 15YO

Medium dark iodine, sweet oxidized note, reminding me of a good Madeira wine, but the palate is all sherry of course, nutty, just a hint of sweetness, a little coffee as well and then a long nutty and slightly bitter finish, very complex and well done. Tasted 3/2008 at the German Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.

MONTILLA-MORILES:

Bodegas Navarro
Medium Cream PX

Bright coffee color, sweet toffee nose, palate with lots of caramel and toffee, quite sweet with enough acidity to counterbalance the sweetness. A well done sweet wine for dessert. Tasted 3/2008 at the German Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.
Pale Cream
Pale and bright yellowish lemon color, quite misleading, nutty and yeasty nose, sweet palate with lots of acidity and surprisingly dry finish, interesting wine and very unusual. Tasted 3/2008 at the German Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.
Amontillado Muy Viejo Solera Fundacion 1830 Tawny color with very nutty nose, lots of almonds too, dry palate, very nutty, complex, almonds and a long dry and nutty finish that goes on for one minute, amazing wine. Tasted 3/2008 at the German Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.
Pedro Ximenez 5YO
Dark cola color, nose with lots of figs and raisins, sweet palate with figs, raisins and enough acidity to go along, long raisin finish. Well done. Tasted 3/2008 at the German Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.
Pedro Ximenez Solera Fundacion 1830 Dark coffee color, nutty complex nose with figs and raisins as well. The palate is very sweet, with a texture and viscosity like crude oil, very complex, lots of toffee, caramel too, dried fruits, raisins, long sweet finish with figs and raisins and just enough acidity. A dessert of its own, with stunning complexity, very sweet but... wow. Tasted 3/2008 at the German Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.
Arrope
The pure grape juice of PX, slowly cooked until it becomes a thick and dark sirupy liquid, essence of grape aroma, together with caramel, no alcohol at all, perfect for dessert, with vanilla ice cream and pancakes. A great experience, and my kids liked it a lot! Tasted 3/2008 at the German Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.

Toro-Albala
1972 Don PX Gran Reserva

Bottle:
Modern machine made, dark and heavy bottle.
Color:
Very dark redish brown, almost black, very viscous, thick in the glass and oily, reminded me of crude oil.
Nose:
Yeasty and full of roasted aromas, ginger cake as well, sweet figs, raisins and molasses.
Palate:
Overwhelming sweetness, Toffee all over, ginger cake and yeasty bread. Then a second layer of those roasted aromas again, coffee-beans, molasses, and other darker things. It all ended coming together in a harmonious triple of figs, raisins and candied fruits. Very impressive! Probably the sweetest wine I have ever had but very pleasant and never cloying.
Footnote:
Tasted several times from 1999 to 2004, thank god still a few bottles remaining. The 1972 sold out in 2003, the following 1975 is not really as good but still excellent.

DOURO:

Favaios
Moscatel 10YO

Golden color, typical moscatel nose with raisins, very sweet moscatel palate with orange and a little lemon, enough acidity to balance the sweetness, lemon finish of medium length. Tasted 3/2008 at the German Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.

MOSCATEL DE SETUBAL:

Casa Ermelinda Freitas
2000 Moscatel Superior

Bronze color, nose with typical moscatel flavor and apricot as well, the palate is all apricot and typical moscatel raisin flavor, very sweet and enough acidity to go with it, long and sweet apricot finish. Tasted 3/2008 at the German Prowein fair in Düsseldorf.

J. P. Vinhos
1995 Palmela Moscatel de Setubal

Bottle:
Ordinary clear glass bottle, quite unimpressive with a small label.
Color:
Tawny with orange rim.
Nose:
Honey and candied orange peel, a little hot at first but then very harmonious, quite viscous.
Palate:
Honey and candied orange peel dominate but then other candied fruits get through. Very sweet but with enough acidity to balance, well rounded and harmonious. Just like he nose the palate was a little spirity at first but that blew off rather quickly. It all ended wih the candied orange peel again, long and pleasant and just bitter enough at the end to tickle your tongue for some more.
Footnote:
Tasted last in 2007.

GERMANY

Reichsrat von Buhl
1996 Forster Jesuitengarten Riesling Eiswein

Bottle:
0,3 liter brown bottle with classic v. Buhl label, long driven cork with nice branding.
Color:
Warm amber yellow first, over the years (from 1997 to 2007) slowly changing to a wonderful honeycolored gold.
Nose:
Overwhelming honey and lemon fruit, orange and pineapple as well, then sweet Botrytis. When tasted last in 2007 the nose was getting a little maderized, but that added to the overall complexitiy.
Palate:
Lots of honey to start with, then a vibrant mixture of lemon, pineapple and orange, even a little apple. The never cloying sweetness is perfectly balanced with huge amounts of acidity, all very harmonious. In the later tastings a pleasant diesel-aroma developed, adding aditional depht to the allready impressive symphony. The never-ending finish also offered some pleasant acidity that made you salivate for the next sip.
Footnote:
Tasted on different occasions from 1997 to 2007, last tasted at the Great Seattle Madeira Tasting together with Roy. The wine had been presented to King Juan Carlos of Spain as a dessert wine when visiting the Palatinate in 1997. Rumor has it, that the remaining 100+ bottles where bought by an unknown buyer the very next day.