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99 Points

Thursday, October 27, 2011 - The Great Families of Madeira (Hearth, NYC): [Family: D’Oliveira] This is not the typical “recently-bottled” commercial release, but a “Family Reserve” wine that was set aside for longer aging in bottle. This was bottled in the 1970s and decanted for four days. Having been fortunate enough to sample the regular bottling of this wine on three other occasions, it was fascinating to compare my previous impressions with this bottle-aged version. The weight, richness and power of the regular bottling were evident, but there was something else, an elegance, a polish. The texture was silkier and the flavors more multifaceted. The caramel and fruitcake flavors were complicated by floral hints and an unusual savory note (olive tapenade?). The intensity still overwhelmed the palate, but this is not just the wild beast I know and love, there is a smoothness and civility I did not expect. An absolutely gorgeous wine!

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