Madeira question

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George Chadwick
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Madeira question

#1 Post by George Chadwick » April 15th, 2019, 10:35 pm

IMG_20190415_223256703.jpg
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Bought this. Googled it, no help. Any idea of how long ago it was bottled? Of the contents?
Thanks in advance

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Craig G
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Re: Madeira question

#2 Post by Craig G » April 15th, 2019, 10:41 pm

I bottled it last week. Thanks for buying!
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Re: Madeira question

#3 Post by Mark Golodetz » April 16th, 2019, 3:49 am

Hard to say, as there seems to be no serial numbers.
Avery’s are one of best importers of wines from most of the major regions; they bought barrels and bottled themselves. Ronald Avery was a legend, buying up the best barrels of Burgundy, and I have been lucky enough to taste a few.

Others prized them as well (ask Kevin Shin) and at a recent auction fetched prices that were on the high side. This though is likely to be a generic bottling and while probably ok in quality, it will not compare to some of the great nineteenth century Madeiras prized by collectors.
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Re: Madeira question

#4 Post by Markus S » April 16th, 2019, 4:31 am

There's actually a Duke of Malmsey? How cool is that?!
$ _ € ® e . k @

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Eric Ifune
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Re: Madeira question

#5 Post by Eric Ifune » April 16th, 2019, 4:11 pm

Avery's was once also famous for their own label Madeira, bottled for them by The Madeira Wine Company. These included many wines also released under the Blandy's, Cossart, and Leacocks labels. When stocks started drying up in the 60's and 70's they stopped doing this. I'm going to guess this wine was bottled about that time. Similar bottle to Blandy's Duke of Clarence label. Most likely Tinta Negra in a sweet style. Possibly (probably) an estufaed wine.

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Re: Madeira question

#6 Post by Eric Ifune » April 16th, 2019, 4:16 pm

There's actually a Duke of Malmsey? How cool is that?!
Unfortunately no Duke of Malmsey. It's only a marketing label. There were the Counts of Torre Bella who controlled the largest estates on the islands. Sometimes you'll see the Torre Bella label on old bottles. I believe the last Countess died a couple of decades ago.

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Re: Madeira question

#7 Post by pnitze » April 16th, 2019, 6:51 pm

Agree with Eric. My guess is late 60’s to mid-70’s, tinta negra mole dominant blend, possibly with some other grapes as components. Probably a mid-range blended wine. Assuming it has been in glass since then, could use 24 hours in a decanter before drinking.
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Re: Madeira question

#8 Post by George Chadwick » April 16th, 2019, 10:03 pm

Thank you gentlemen! I'll call it a forty year old Madeira. Not bad.

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Re: Madeira question(s)

#9 Post by NoahR » April 17th, 2019, 4:01 am

New Madeira questions x2

1) Oidium hit in 1851. Phylloxera hit in 1870. Are there generally consistent thoughts on the quality of the wines after these disasters hit?

American Civil War Years (1861/5) and 1870 seem to be traded and priced highly. I ha e sought out 1877 because I was born in 1977 and it’s fun to have a drinkable wine 100 years older than one’s self. Curious for those in the know what the General timeline was for quality around those events.

2) I have read from several sources that Soltes practices on Madeira differ from that of Sherry in that additions are only allowed for 10 vintages (either subsequent or subsequent “good” vintages). When did this practice take effect? Is it true of, say the 1864 Cossart Solera that seems to be out there? What about earlier wines?

Any help would be appreciated!
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Re: Madeira question

#10 Post by Eric Ifune » April 17th, 2019, 3:43 pm

Oidium and Phylloxera were huge hits. Production almost ceased entirely, only a few hundred casks. I've seen bottles with two vintages on them, a blend of the two because there wasn't enough. Sulfur was used for Oidium. It's still used quite liberally. I've a photo somewhere of a local farmer who grows for Barbeito literally covered in sulfur after application. Phylloxera was a different story. Prior, Verdelho was the dominant, work horse variety. Most pre-Phylloxera wines without a varietal label were Verdelho. Afterwards, the growers switched to "Direct Producers." These are hybrids. They became the dominant varieties. Later grafting started, but the Direct Producers remained up until Portugal joined the EU. Among the Vinifera varieties, Tinta Negra (previously called Tinta Negra Mole) became dominant because it was easy to grow with disease resistance and big crops. Verdelho became rarer and upgraded to a "noble" variety. Malvasia (Malmsey) was always a rare and highly in demand grape. Quality for those periods for existing wines was always good, it was mainly the quantities that suffered. Solera wines were unregulated until, again, Portugal joined the EU. Most of the well known ones were started during/after Phylloxera when quantities were low and they needed to extend the good wines. Most are very good including the 1864 Cossaart, but I've had some duff bottles, including the 1746 Justino's Verdelho which was obviously extended too much. The ten additions started after the EU joining. After the 10th, you have to bottle the lot.
Last edited by Eric Ifune on April 17th, 2019, 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Madeira question

#11 Post by Eric Ifune » April 17th, 2019, 3:47 pm

Oh and 1862 was one of the best vintages ever, especially for Terrantez but also other varieties. 1870 was very, very good as well.

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Re: Madeira question

#12 Post by NoahR » April 17th, 2019, 5:19 pm

Hi Eric,

Thanks for this info! I had read that Soleras were generally priced higher than single vintages historically, and that the 10-addition rule was the reason. So this whole 10-additions-only rule is less than 20 years old?? If so, why the historically high prices on Solera Madeira compared to sherry?
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Re: Madeira question

#13 Post by Eric Ifune » April 18th, 2019, 4:12 pm

Well, they can't keep a solera going indefinitely like Sherry. I've never heard that Madeira soleras were priced more than Vintage wines. Where did you hear that? The only thing I can think of is that the current laws make starting a solera economically unfeasible, thus the existent soleras need to be maintained. Remember, these were wines the Madeira Producers wanted to keep, things like the Madeira Wine Company 1808 solera Malmsey. The 1808 was considered the best ever. I've had two wines from this solera, both fantastic. Never had the straight vintage and I've been looking worldwide.

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Re: Madeira question(s)

#14 Post by J a y H a c k » April 19th, 2019, 8:36 am

NoahR wrote:
April 17th, 2019, 4:01 am
New Madeira questions x2

1) Oidium hit in 1851. Phylloxera hit in 1870. Are there generally consistent thoughts on the quality of the wines after these disasters hit?

American Civil War Years (1861/5) and 1870 seem to be traded and priced highly. I ha e sought out 1877 because I was born in 1977 and it’s fun to have a drinkable wine 100 years older than one’s self. Curious for those in the know what the General timeline was for quality around those events.

2) I have read from several sources that Soltes practices on Madeira differ from that of Sherry in that additions are only allowed for 10 vintages (either subsequent or subsequent “good” vintages). When did this practice take effect? Is it true of, say the 1864 Cossart Solera that seems to be out there? What about earlier wines?

Any help would be appreciated!
I have some 1875. I did some research after I bought it and it appears that the Phylloxera didn't take hold immediately after reaching the island. People seem to think that 1875 was PROBABLY pre-Phylloxera vines especially because it would have take a while to re-grow new vines after the devastation. However, I could not find any definitive statements one way or the other.
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Re: Madeira question

#15 Post by Eric Ifune » April 19th, 2019, 3:25 pm

I believe Phylloxera was first seen on the Island in 1872. It does take awhile for it to spread to all the vineyards and kill the vines. It was in the 1880's that production was at it's nadir.

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Re: Madeira question

#16 Post by NoahR » April 20th, 2019, 4:31 am

I wonder if young vine vs old vine has any relevance for Madeira given the method of its production.
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Re: Madeira question

#17 Post by Steve Slatcher » April 20th, 2019, 1:52 pm

Averys still sell wine. You could try asking them - averys.com

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Re: Madeira question

#18 Post by Jason T » April 22nd, 2019, 5:28 am

NoahR wrote:
April 20th, 2019, 4:31 am
I wonder if young vine vs old vine has any relevance for Madeira given the method of its production.
Interesting question, to which I’d love to know the answer.
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Re: Madeira question

#19 Post by Eric Ifune » April 22nd, 2019, 4:43 pm


NoahR wrote: ↑
Sat Apr 20, 2019 4:31 am
I wonder if young vine vs old vine has any relevance for Madeira given the method of its production. Interesting question, to which I’d love to know the answer.
Viticulture on Madeira is very different. Most of the older vineyards are pergola trained. The newer plantings are trellised. Grapes are harvested earlier than for table wines, unlike Port. This is one reason the acidity is so high. These and other variables probably have more effect than vine age.

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