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Sunday, June 28, 2009

LUNCHEON TASTING: MADEIRA wines in Toronto, June 10, 2009


 The Time and Date: Wednesday, June 10, 2009   11:30 AM – 5:30 PM

The Event: Madeira Wine luncheon and tasting, sponsored by IVBAM from Madeira, the European Union and the Portuguese Trade and Tourism Commission.

The Venue: Jacobs & Co. steak house, King St West

The Target Audience: wine writers and sommeliers, restaurateurs.

The Availability/Catalogue: most of the Madeira in the tasting were for show, with the possibility of some orders for the future. Prices were not always known.

The Quote/Background: Five wineries were included – the Madeira Wine Company, Henriques & Henriques, Vinhos Justinos Henriques, Vinho Barbeito, and Pereira d'Oliveira. Together they market well over a dozen different labels, and many more styles (Ten Year Old, 5 Year Old, Rich, Old, Colheita), plus the various names of the grapes of sercial, bual, verdelho, terrantez, malmsey or malvasia AND the many labels such as Cossart Gordon, Blandy's, Leacock's, and Miles.

The Wines: I did not try all the wines.


**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Henriques & Henriques 10 YO Sercial (Cavima Ent.)

-Henriques & Henriques 15 YO Sercial (Cavima Ent.)

-Henriques & Henriques 15 YO Verdelho (Cavima Ent.)

-Justino Broadbent Bual 1978 (RKW Wine Imports)

-Justino Colheita 1996   (RKW Wine Imports)


***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (8890 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Cossart Gordon 5 YO Sercial

-Leacock's 5 YO Sercial

-Blandy's 10 YO Verdelho

-Pereira d'Oliveira Harvest Bual 1980

-Pereira d'Oliveira Harvest Malvazia 1990

-Pereira d'Oliveira 15 YO Sweet

-Justino Boal 10 YR  (RKW Wine Imports)

-Justino Sercial 10 YO, $40  (RKW Wine Imports)


*** Three Stars (8587 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Cossart Gordon 5 YO Bual

-Justino Old Reserve Fine Dry 10 YO, $35 RKW Wine Imports


The Food: For the lunch, the only downer was the consommé. Only "double consommé" can stand up to Madeira, and we just had regular consommé. Maybe next time. Meanwhile, I added some Madeira to my soup, and it picked up. The hors d'oeuvre comprised salt cod fritters, red pepper and goat cheese on broche, steak tartar, lobster rice paper spring rolls (where was my lobster? I couldn't find it) – all served against Henriques & Henriques 10 yr Sercial. The second course had some of dry-aged beef that Jacobs and Co does (USDA prime roasted tenderloin, Oakleigh Ranch wagyu striploin, and Alberta wagyu bavette). I liked the bavette the best. Unfortunately, there was only ONE Madeira to try with three styles of beef. I cross-sampled with what I already had (10 year sercial, 10 year verdelho, 15 year verdelho). Next up[ came a cheese course, with two unidentified cheeses, both quite good with the 5 yr bual and the 10 year bual. Dessert was rich chocolate three ways, with Justino's Colheita 1996 and Justino's Broadbent Bual 1978, both superb

With the stand alone tasting, there were skewers of meat and about a dozen different Portuguese cheeses. Unfortunately, there were no labels to explain what these cheeses were. I could read some incomplete packaging, but of course, they were all in Portuguese. The cheeses tasted pretty good, even better with the Madeira. Buals were the best choices for cheese. The Downside: the luncheon was very crowded, and service was consequently slow. Also, I had to request a spit bucket: there was no way I was going to swallow different fortified wines after tasting. There were 7 wines to sample with the food.

The Upside: great food matches.

The Contact Person:

The Marketing Effectiveness (numerical grade): 92.


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