Friday, March 5, 2021

Madeira Review: Rare Wine Co New York Malmsey

Finally we reach the end of this series that was rudely interrupted by last summer's raging forest fires.

My introduction to madeira was a malmsey, though the bar may have been set a little too high since it was a very nice 90s colheita. I've always enjoyed the style because it has the sweetness of a port while the higher acidity keeps it from becoming unidimensional.

This wine is fermented to just over 100 g of residual sugar per liter, fortified, and aged in oak in a traditional canteiro system. The blend is put together from 85% malvasia 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 New York Malmsey

: juicy, concentrated grapes, caramel, lightly floral vanilla, tropical fruit, gentle mustiness and yeasty savoriness, a touch of oak and orange peel

Taste: big raisin and caramel sweetness up front, quickly tempered by gentle acidity, citrus peel and a little pink bubblegum in the middle, trending towards tart apples and gentle tannins going into the back

Finish: pleasantly tart and gently drying (malic acid), raisin/grape/caramel sweetness, soft oak tannins

While I find this to be the least complex of the four, I can't deny that this is a very pleasant madeira to sip. The acidity is more restrained than in the others without disappearing, so the wine never becomes insipid. The somewhat drying finish also keeps it in check, making each new sip pleasant instead of overwhelmingly sweet. I think the bual will be my happy medium, but I would still recommend this wine if you want to kick the sweetness up a notch.