Pereira D’Oliveira Madeira Sercial Dry Colheita 1999
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Pereira d'Oliveiras are the great small house of Madeira, with the largest collection of old wines in the wine world, much of it dating back to 1850. Colheitas are vintage wines less than 20 years of ageing in cask; north of 20 years, they are called Frasqueiras. Although these wines are categorised into 4 sweetness bands (dry/Sercial, medium/Verdelho and Terrantez, medium-sweet/Boal and sweet/Malvazia), the cold climate acidity of this Atlantic island is a dominant feature in even the sweetest. Sercial tasting note: With age comes an array of complex wood-volatile-ester secondaries: here, the beautiful smell of an old cricket bat embalmed in linseed oil, along with deep grilled nut edged by citrus rind, with brandy snap and ginger cookie touches. In the mouth, marmalade and grilled nut lead into a rainwater shower of juicy acid so typical of these beautiful wines. Firm spirit dryness gives the mid-palate a hold, at which point it's almost peaty sweet and then comes a long, fine earthily dry end, which is almost ruler-straight, but gentle and unforced. A wine of considerable grace.
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