Madeira wine from 1870 - Printable Version

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- alfiman - 12-20-1999 03:11 PM

Before my wife and I left Europe last year a friend of ours brought me a gift of a bottle of Justino's Malmsey Madeira wine from 1870. It was in his fathers caves for all these years. Any idea if it could be good, valuable or should I buy a lot of lettuce before I open the bottle in expectation of the outcome.

- Thomas - 12-20-1999 04:05 PM

I thought Justino's was in the Mr. Henri Selection.

The last Justino Malmsey I tasted was horrible.

But then, I didn't know Justino was an old Madeira house, and maybe back then it was good. Can't say.

- OportoRAH - 12-21-1999 02:52 AM

this was one of the very last vintages from Portugal prior to the disruption due to Phylloxera. It was a wonderful Porto vintage and I am sure the weather on the Isle of Madeira was not to different. Anyway, you will have a darn nice bottle to open up and let us know your tasting notes!


- Thomas - 12-21-1999 09:43 AM

So, OportoRah, what is the story behind Justino? I cannot find mention of it anywhere in my books about Madeira, and the only time I ever tasted it I was saddened by it.

- alfiman - 12-21-1999 06:19 PM

My wife is having our first child on Feb. 9th and this sounds like a great occasion to try the Madeira wine. But just in case we will keep some extra lettuce on hand in case it turns out to be vinegar. As soon as I try it I will report back.

- Thomas - 12-22-1999 09:20 AM

If the wine is what OportoRAH says it is, I doubt it will be vinegar. Real Madeira can just about live forever. I tasted an 1870, 1945 and recent Madeira by the same producer; the older was nearly as fresh as the younger.

- m_cyclops - 12-28-1999 01:22 PM

Are you talking about a 130 years old wine? The oldest I tried is a 1973 Médoc and somebody give it to me. How much does a bottle of this wine cost? How do you storage it? If you storage haven't been good I would buy a nice champagne for the birth day of your son and keep the 1870 bottle in my racks for showing time.

- Thomas - 12-29-1999 09:32 AM

Cyclops, Madeira is a special wine, made in a special process called estufa. Essentially, the wines are heated for a few months and just about pasteurized. This process helps create wines that live for damned near ever; and good ones at that.

- m_cyclops - 12-29-1999 04:15 PM

And, how expensive a bottle this date can be? I know it depends on a lot of things more than the age, but it older than most countries!

- Thomas - 12-30-1999 10:11 AM

Let's put it this way: recent bottlings of Madeira wines run (for the lowest end) at around $20 each and (for the highest end) around $50 each.

- alfiman - 04-04-2000 04:35 PM

Well the baby was born and as promised the 1870 maderia wine was a toast to his happiness. Both the baby and the wine were wonderful and significantly better than expected. The wine was incredibly smooth and had just the right sweetness. I would recommend both to anyone reading this.