There are a few distinct styles of Madeira -- this one is a Malmsey. It's vinified from Malvasia grapes and made to be the sweetest type of Madeira. The fermentation process is interrupted with the addition of a neutral grape spirit (think Brandy, but it doesn't taste like anything - just booze). This brings the alcohol level up to 19% and leaves a bit of unfermented sugars. The wine is then stored and allowed to heat up. Yup, heat. This replicates the conditions the wine would have experienced way back in the day when it was shipped across the Atlantic to the New World.
Review: The result is delectable. The wine is a deep amber color and has aromas of toasted almonds. On the palate, the wine has deep flavors of dried apricots and honey. Along with the sweetness, this Madeira retains a high level of acid, keeping it refreshing instead of cloying. Overall, it has a full body and a lingering finish. Divine.
Food Pairing: This wine would be great with dessert -- just make sure your wine is sweeter than your food. Perhaps a flour-less chocolate torte?
Bottom Line: I could drink this every day. One of the best parts of Madeira is that you can open a bottle and it will keep for YEARS. I've been slowly working through this one for about 5 months now. If anything, it's even better than when I first opened it.
- PLACE: Madeira
- GRAPE: Malmsey/Malvasia
- AGEING: 10 years
- BOOZE: 19.0%
- CELLAR: Drink now or age for 25 years
Where did I get it? At wine event some months ago -- is it bad that I can't remember which one?
What's the damage? High Priced