Monday 14 May 2012

Tasting Dinner With a 142 Year Old Madeira

This was one of the biannual tasting dinners we arrange in one of my tastings groups. As always - great food, wine and company! All wines tasted double blind (except, of course, for the ones you brought...).

We started with an amazing plate of goodies - smoked salmon, duck liver paté, scallops and shrimp sallad. While we munched on them we drank two bottles of Champagne.

NV Initial, Jacques Selosse
This bottle was degorged 2010-05-05. The nose is fresh, intense and lovely with notes of crushed oyster shells, cap gun powder, ripe green apples, scallop juice and some fudge. Very deep and fine. With some air a gorgeous perfumed note emerge from the glass. Great stuff!
The taste is pure and focused with a stunning lenght and notes of sea shells, lime, freshly washed clothes and a hint of toasted bread. Impressive structure. A pure joy to drink.
96p   (tasted 2012/05)

2002 Fleur de Passion, Diebolt-Vallois
This beauty made my 10 most memorable wines of 2011, but this bottle was more closed. The nose is cool, young and fresh with notes of grape, chalk, dry biscuits, lily of the valley and a touch of petrol. Very deep but a bit elusive today.
The taste is young, creamy and intense with notes of lemon cream, sweet minerals, rhubarb and some steely notes. Very long and refreshing. A little restrained. It seems to have closed down a bit since last year. Still a very fine bottle of Champagne.
92p   (tasted 2012/05)

For first course we were served seared tuna with asparagus and a lovely spinach- and nettle cream. Two wines were served and sorry to say, we were lost guessing there origin. I taste Grüner Veltliner far to seldom...

2009 Wösendorfer Hochrain Grüner Veltliner Smaragd, Rudi Pichler
A young, fresh, flowery nose with notes of mango, lemon peel, smoke and the same white peppar note as in a Syrah! Which lead me to Rhone and Rousanne, Marsanne and Viognier...
The taste is big, warm and up front fruity with notes of assorted tropical fruits, smoke, blood orange juice and some candy notes. Rather warm. And the acidity is a bit too low for my liking, which also lead me too the Rhone valley... But there is a good structure here. The fruit is sweet and fine. And it worked great with the tuna.
88p   (tasted 2012/05)

2009 Lamm Erste Lage Grüner Veltliner, Weingut Bründlmayer
A big, all over the place kind of nose, with notes of mustard seeds, dried flowers, licorice and lots of lyche fruit. Semi dry. Too unfocused.
The taste is as big as the nose and the fruit is too warm. To make things worse, there is only hints of acidity, leaving a flabby impression. Lots of sweet flowers, herbs and limoncello on the palate. Not my cup of tea.
74p   (tasted 2012/05)

With a superb entrecote we were served three equally superb glasses of wine.

1996 Château Lynch-Bages
A deep, elegant and gracefully mature nose with notes of the essence of black currants, old leather, sugared coffee and fresh stables. A hint of vanilla and black peppar adds to the complexity. Very deep. In a perfect state of maturity. Just lovely!
The taste is tighter than the nose with lots of fresh black currant fruit and notes of dark chocolate, pipe tobacco, autumn leaves and a dusty road in the summer. Long and structured. On the palate this still needs time. Great sweetness to the fruit. Very, very fine.
94p   (tasted 2012/05)

1996 Château d´Armailhac
A deep, dark, intense nose with lots of sweet blackberries, black currants and rasberries. Then some dark chocolate, tobacco and the scent of old books makes its way through the fruit. A lovely sweetness. This is also almost fully mature on the nose. A touch warmer than the Lynch-Bages.
The taste is deep, creamy and finely balanced with notes of red and black currants, autumn leaves, bay leaves, pipe tobacco and cocoa. A long, fine finish that ends with a dry twist. This is fully mature and drinking great.
91p   (tasted 2012/05)

1996 Château Pichon-Baron
Aaaaaah - this is great! Gorgeous scents of sweet red and black currants, plums, expensive leather, dried flowers and strawberries in a balsamic vinegar reduction. Great depth and a precious framework. Stunning nose!
The taste is tight, concentrated and aristocratic with lovely notes of red and black currants, balsa wood, cigarett ashes, sugared coffee and warm autumn leaves. A long, elegant finish. This, as the Lynch-Bages, have some maturing to do, but you can´t resist this beauty tonight.
95p   (tasted 2012/05)

I had prepared a simple dessert - a chocolate mousse with some rasberry chocolate truffles. My experience said that it would suit the Madeira bottle I had brought perfectly - and so it did.

1870 Malmsey Reserve, Vinhos da Madeira Lda
We were in the presence of history here - this year the worlds first football match between two countries was played (England vs Scotland - 1-1), Lenin was born, Charles Dickens died and the people of Rome voted on the question of entering Italy (and yes, they did...).
A rich, deep, deep nose with utterly gorgeous notes of almond paste, dark caramel, dried plums, nuts, wet tea leaves and some band aid. Bottomless deep and just captivating. Very, very complex. There is something special that comes with 142 years of maturing...
The taste is glorious, with extra of everything - concentration, intensity, sweetness and a laserlike acidity that cuts through the sweetness like a blade. Notes of rosehips, tangerines, mature yellow apples, honey, plum cake, nuts and nougat sears from the glass. The finish is counted in minutes. A absolutely stunning wine!
98p   (tasted 2012/05)


  1. Jokim;

    Thank you for this post....
    I do use the 100 points rating system ....but I never rated a wine 74 points.....because I think it is defected..

    Also where you buy or find those rare and old Madeira ...and what is the cost ?


    1. Hi Angelo,
      and thanks! Well, the scale runs from 50 -100, and to me a 74p wine is a mediocre wine but with no winemaking faults.
      And the points are not the most important, for me its just a summarize of what I thought at the time.

      I have my secret sources...:-)

  2. Jokim;

    Since you are a Madeira connoisseur....can you reccomend me few small producers with excellent quality and prices so I can start my own collection ?

    1. Hi, I have had my fair share of Madeira - both young and old, but the real master at this game is Niklas, you can find his blog here - - what he doesn´t know isn´t worth knowing. There you can find reports from great producers and where to buy Madeira. Good hunting!

  3. Many thanks for bringing the Madeira. Fascinating with a wine that old behaving like it still is in its youth.

    This is the 4th time that Selosse impressed me, and I still can’t find any bottles in my cellar.

    I agree that both PB and LB was really nice, fortunately I have one bottle left of each. I desperately need a Bx refill in my cellar, but I can’t afford the stuff anymore / Roderick

    1. And thanks, Roderick for the Bx wines - always nice to drink (almost...) mature Bx!

      See you on monday - it should be nice...:-)

  4. Hello Joakim,
    I have a bottle of the 1870 Malmsey Reserve, Vinhos da Madeira Lda which I would like to sell. Would you be interested? I have a contact me page on my web site: