Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Madeira Review: Rare Wine Co Boston Bual

While malmsey was my introduction to madeira, bual was not far behind. While I wasn't overly impressed by Blandy's 5 Year Bual, this should be much older and hopefully more complex.

While not as sweet as a malmsey, this should be much sweeter than a verdelho or a sercial. This wine is fermented to more than 50 g but less than 100 g of residual sugar per liter, fortified, and aged in oak in a traditional canteiro system. The blend is put together from 85% bual grapes aged for 15-20 years with 15% tinta negra mole grapes aged for 40-60 years, then bottled at 19.5% ABV.

Rare Wine Co Boston Bual

Nose: big dried fruits, fresh grapes, raspberry, plum, melon, a sour top note, floral, a little fresh wood, soy sauce, and bubble gum

Taste: moderate grape sweetness up front, apples, pears, and berries in the middle, a moderately tart finish with tea tannins and lemon peel

Finish: a little thin, citric/vinegar tartness, grape sweetness, a little bit of vanilla roundness

This is definitely the transition point where the madeiras switch from being aperitifs to dessert wines. While there is still plenty of acidity to counterbalance the sweetness, it has firmly switched from being dry to sweet.

My first impression was that this was something of an awkward middle. It didn't quite seem to have the complexity of the sercial or verdelho, but it also didn't have the magnificent sweetness of a malmsey. Subsequent tastings have improved that impression, so I feel like it holds its own in the lineup. I can also see some parallels with the Blandy's Bual I mentioned above, though as I hoped this has more complexity. It makes a solid after dinner drink for a not overly rich meal.

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