My tasting note from 5/24 come from popping and pouring, which normally doesn't do a madeira justice... including this bottle.
I realize that in general, time should not change a madeira drastically, although it usually helps to pop and wait a few days (or more, depending on the madeira) rather than pop and pour.... Now, over a month since my first taste (I simply re-inserted the cork and set aside the bottle), I will say that the over the top acidity from my first note seems to have balanced slightly -- just slightly enough for me to pour a second and even a third glass. The bitterness at the end which normally I enjoy in Terrantez's but thought this was a tad much, likewise calmed down a bit, especially on the finish.
This has turned into a very fine and very much enjoyable wine indeed. Bravo, Mannie and the folks at Barbeito!
All things considered, this is a great wine. Don't try to compare it to some of the old madeiras (think 19th, even 18th century) ... however, what I love about it is that this wine is made in the same vein as those old wines. If you enjoy the style of some of the older madeira, but don't want to spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars for a bottle, then the RWC Historic Series is a great way to go.
Specifically this wine:
Color: Coca-cola with a tinge of red Nose: Molasses, Burnt sugar, roasted walnuts, dark bread... basically various components Christmas fruit cake. A whiff of dried figs, too... Very interesting. Madeira acidity on palate: The acidity in this is biting, much like a lot of madeira. My favorite madeiras tend to hold the amazing acidity in check, while still allowing it to be a very refreshing component. I think this one allows the acidity to overpower some of the wine's complexity, but it is still very tasty. (This is, of course, just my humble opinion and personal taste. I am sure many others will think the acidity is just right.) Palate: Orange slices, a dash of asian spices, a quick hit of grapefruit-marinated-in-grand-marnier through the mid-palate before finishing with some of the darker components found on the nose. The finish is lengthy, though not extremely long, and the very last taste I have is reminiscent of the bitterness from the burnt sugar. It's not enough for me not to indulge in another pour or two, but honestly it's not quite the finish I hope for. In the end, this wine is not quite the complete package.
However, I look forward with anticipation to future pours of this wine: tomorrow, next week, next month... to see how much this wine truly loves the air! I am sure it will only get better and better.
QPR? A no brainer. Get it! ... or don't get it and leave more for the rest of us!
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(NV Rare Wine Co. (Vinhos Barbeito) Madeira Historical Series Stratford Hall Special Reserve) Brown red color with ruby lights and .5 millimeter clear meniscus; VA, baked cherry, baked raspberry, raspberry syrup nose; tasty, rich, youthful, tart raspberry, tart cherry palate with medium acidity; long finish 91+ points (bottled 2012; blend of all 4 varieties except Sercial and Terrantez; from 15 to 60 yr old wines)
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