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Fine Wines. Fine Friends.

Broadbent Ports and Madeiras

Aug 21 2002 - 18:30

Winetasters fiercely protects its independence from all importers/agents/commissions etc. In our nearly 25 years of existence our policy has been to remain independent and to pay for all wines we serve. Nevertheless, we also endeavour to inform our members of tastings and wine shows that might be of interest to them. Similarly we are happy to provide links on our website to other wine-friendly organizations.

Occasionally an event occurs that demands being brought to the attention of our members. And on Wednesday August 21 we are pleased to be able to cooperate in a special tasting of Broadbent ports and madeiras. As regular attendees know, over the years, Winetasters has specialized in presenting tastings of both these fortified wines (with many more to come). And in August, both principals will be in Toronto for a special presentation at the National Club.

Each is well known to Winetasters. Bartholomew Broadbent was formerly based in Toronto, before moving to San Francisco where he subsequently founded Broadbent Selections. Bartholomew has also been a good friend, sourcing some of the fine madeiras we have served at our Casa Loma event.

Michael Broadbent's list of accomplishments would more than fill this entire mailing. His two books on his tasting notes (Great Vintage Wine Book and the New Great Vintage Wine Book) are essential for anyone considering buying older wines. He is a columnist for Decanter magazine and has many other writing credits. As the head of Christies Wine Department, we dealt with him for over a decade. They don't come more knowledgeable.

The Broadbent name on ports and madeiras is much more recent. The revolution in winemaking that started in the New World, particularly the USA and Australia, was slow in reaching Europe – and even slower reaching Portugal. Traditional methods (foot-treading and slow aging) are widely practiced even today and, although prized by some, the reality is that modern tastes generally demand a fresher, fruitier approach. It is probably no coincidence that, with the help of the weather, the last three generally declared Vintage Port years have been called some of the finest ever. We will get the perfect chance to test this theory, as each of the vintages 1994, 1997 and 2000 will be presented. Within this mini-vertical, we also expect to see increased complexity as more grape varieties have been included in each subsequent vintage. Dirk Niepoort, makes the ports in consultation with the Broadbents, and Dirk is considered one of the stars of the younger generation now taking over in the Douro.

Turning to Madeiras, we will taste an extensive range. For everyday drinking, there is Rainwater Madeira. Moving up the blended scale we will taste a 5 year old Reserve and a 10 year old Malmsey. From single years, we will taste a 1995 Colheita (a new category; true ‘vintage' Madeiras must be aged at least 20 years before bottling) and a 1964 Vintage Bual. And as a special treat we will get to try a Terrantez ‘Old Reserve' – nobody knows exactly how long this was kept in cask, but best guesses are 40-50 years. Although this may seem strange, it is not uncommon in Madeira where casks are often found in old cellars, with incomplete documentation on their origins. This is why Winetasters is still able to locate 100 year-old Madeiras – they turn up unexpectedly in private cellars (albeit sometimes with complete documentation). The Broadbent Madeiras are primarily sourced from Justino Henriques, another company that modernized extensively in the 1990's to make wine in a fresher style.

Please join us for this special tasting. Please note the unusual time and location of this event.

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