D’Oliveira, Terrantez, Madeira, Portugal, 1988
A vintage terrantez varietal wine, bottled 2014, aged by the unforced canteiro method, in old oak barrels; natural cork stopper, 20% abv, Vintage Wine and Port, £60
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, medium intensity brown, showing tears.
Nose: clean on the nose, with a pronounced intensity, fully developed, with aromas of warm spice – cinnamon, all spice and garam masala, rich wettted prunes, dark toffee, treacle, dark caramel, muscovado sugar, coffee, dried fruit-heavy christmas cake, sweet walnuts, roasted hazelnuts, sweet tobacco, linseed oil and old varnish.
Palate: an off-dry wine, with medium (+) acidity, fortified high, a medium (+) body, smooth and viscous, but not cloying, owing to the acidity, a low-key grip, of pronounced intensity, with flavours of walnuts, raisins and dried prunes, rich dark toffee, linseed oil, all spice and curry spices. A very long length with a crisp clean very lightly grippy finish.
Quality: an outstanding quality wine, with crisp acidity in balance with alcohol and the strong intensity of flavour, giving a clean palate finish. High levels of tertiary-heavy complexity and concentration of flavour follow through to the seemingly endless length.
Readiness for drinking/potential for ageing: can drink now, not suitable for further ageing – that is it will not improve, but will keep for decades, if cellared correctly.