Henriques & Henriques, Sercial, Madeira, Portugal, 2001
Platinum - Best in Show: Best in Show
Dry, challenging Sercial is a Madeira-lover's Madeira. There is usually little overt sweetness with which to offset the pungency and attack of age itself (eighteen years in this case). Once discovered, though, the style is limitlessly rewarding -- as those who venture into this surprisingly accessible example of the genre will find. Burnished, tamarind scents give way to a cascade of lemon, grape and grapefruit -- yet the wine's 55g/l of sugar help shape and resolve those flavours into something almost toothsome. The wine's prominent acidity (a typical feature of Madeira) means that it tastes drier than that residual sugar level would suggest, and the evaporative concentration of the ageing process leaves the wine as clean on the last sip as it was on the first.