1997 Broadbent "Single Cask" Malvasia Madeira Cask #233 500ml
1997 Broadbent "Single Cask" Malvasia Madeira Cask #233 500ml

1997 Broadbent "Single Cask" Malvasia Madeira Cask #233 500ml

Madeira, Portugal 1997 (500mL)
Regular price$99.00
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1997 Broadbent "Single Cask" Malvasia Madeira Cask #233 500ml

It’s hard to convey the excitement over this wine in a few paragraphs. Vintage Madeira is one of the world’s most complex, singular wines—reflective, introspective, heart-wrenchingly beautiful. And if there is one person you should buy Madeira from, it is world-leading Madeira expert and creator, Bartholomew Broadbent.

The wines, fortified with grape spirit to withstand the rigors of shipping, fared better than the still wines of France on the long trips across the Atlantic to the British colonies. In the second half of the 18th century, Madeira gatherings were widespread up and down the East Coast. Legendary presidents, including George Washington, oenophile Thomas Jefferson, and even Barack Obama have ushered in special occasions with Madeira. In its way, Madeira is as “American” as Napa Valley Cabernet, Kentucky Bourbon, or Yuengling beer.

The Malvasia grape, the sweetest of the native varieties grown on Madeira, produces wines of luscious concentration and unsurpassed distance on the palate. When bottled from a single, superior vintage, it is arguably the greatest expression of fortified wine, rivaling only the highly collectible bottles of Vintage Port. These grapes, located in the northwest region, are a result of long-term relationships with several growers. From vines averaging 25 years of age, the grapes are de-stemmed, crushed and pressed, followed by fermentation with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks. Then, the fermentation is stopped by the addition of a neutral grape spirit (brandy), which raises the alcohol level to about 19% while preserving natural sweetness. After fermentation, the wine follows the natural oxidative aging process called canteiro, resting in neutral 650L American oak casks in the old warehouses, where the indirect warmth of the sun gently “maderizes” the wine, creating its unique flavors of dark toffee and caramel. This bottling was the first to be released in the Broadbent "Single Cask" series with less than a 1,000 bottles made. 

Even though Malvasia produces the sweetest, most age-worthy styles of Madeira, it is far from cloying, buoyed as it is by its amazing acidity; its signature oceanic zest; and tangy spice. The wine is deep amber color, yet it is not as sweet as a Sauternes or Tokaji. We tend to associate a darker-colored wine with being ultra-rich, and therefore very sweet, but that is a misnomer. For example, this effort contains 88 grams of sugar/liter with a pH of 3.3, versus Château d’Yquem 2014, for example, which has 134 grams of sugar/liter with a pH of 3.6. 

If you serve this 1997 too cold, you will fence in its heady aromas, so stay in the 60-degree range. And don’t use a glass with a wide lip, which will exaggerate the alcohol; use something like this, which will make a world of difference. In the glass the wine is glossy brown, moving to a light amber rim. Upon the first smell, you immediately get sucked into the wine’s pinwheel of aromas—dark toffee, roasted chestnuts, dried fruit cake, almond, salty caramel, bitter cocoa, and beurre noisette. On the palate, the wine is silky, almost buttery, but floats with Madeira’s classic nutty tang, saline cookie crunch. The aftertaste lingers for minutes, a sign of serious complexity and mastery—fortified or not. Today’s offering is perfectly enjoyed by itself (meditative and strong), but with Thanksgiving around the corner, I’ve got pies on my mind. Instead of the typical pecan pie, try a twist with walnuts, which complement Malvasia’s attractive nutty tone. The attached recipe might be English, but use California walnuts, raise a glass of 1997 Broadbent Malvasia, and make it American! Cheers!


1997 Broadbent "Single Cask" Malvasia Madeira Cask #233 500ml

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