Malvasia Single Cask #M235 Madeira

(Madeira, Portugal) $95

Great Madeira is one of the world’s most exquisite wines. Try this with a bit of Stilton or dry-aged cheese and you’ll see (or remember). Cask #M235 is one of four special 22-year old casks being bottled by Broadbent Selections, and the wine is screaming with tangy intensity. Who knew a wine could seem like Morocco in a glass? The waves of exotic flavors from preserved lemons and Mandarin oranges to crème brûlée, curry, black pepper, and cardamom are fantastic. About 970 bottles of wine from this cask exist, but if you can’t find #M235, get one of its sisters: #M204, #M217 or #M233. (And keep in mind, an opened bottle of Madeira lasts for many months.) (19% abv)

95 points KM

Available at K & L Wine Merchants

The WineSpeed Blog

A. Pisco sour (traditional South American cocktail)

B. Grignolino (Italian red wine from Asti in Piedmont, Italy)

C. Vermouth (Italian fortified wine flavored with herbs and spices)

D. Campari and soda (Italian aperitif originally from Piedmont, Italy)


Despite being born in Argentina, Pope Francis—Jorge Mario Bergoglio—comes from an Italian family with deep wine roots. His grandfather, Giovanni Angelo Bergoglio, was a winemaker near Asti in Piedmont, Italy, known for its bubbly dessert wines. However, Giovanni made a still red from the area, called grignolino (GREEN-yoh-LEE-noh). While still Cardinal Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, the Pope wrote often to his relatives in Piedmont, asking them to send more bottles of grignolino. Derived from grignòle, a Piedmontese dialect word for “many seeds”, grignolino is the source of light-reddish colored, frothy, crisp wines that can also have a tannic bite.

Answer: False.

Grappa is the clear brandy that results when the pulpy mash of stems, seeds, and skins left over from winemaking is refermented and then distilled. In most parts of the world, this leftover stuff is thrown away or spread on the ground as fertilizer. But in Italy, nothing gastronomical is wasted—even if it sometimes tastes like a grenade has just exploded in your throat. Historically, grappa, was a specialty of the cold, northern part of the country, where people put a small shot of it into their morning coffee. The best grappas today are usually made from the skins and stems of a single aromatic white grape variety, such as riesling, moscato, or gewürztraminer.


Spain’s most famous red grape, tempranillo (tem-pra-KNEE-oh), makes such a huge range of wine styles depending on where it is grown in Spain—they almost seem made from separate varieties. Tempranillo is, for example, the main grape in the country’s famous wine region of Rioja. Traditionally-styled Rioja can resemble red Burgundy (pinot noir) in its refinement, earthiness, and complexity. At the same time, tempranillo is also the grape that makes blockbuster dense reds like tinta del Toro of the Toro region and the tinta del pais of Ribera del Duero. Tempranillo has a slew of different names in Spain, including ull de llebre (“eye of the hare”), cencibel, tinto aragónez, and escobera. Tempranillo’s significant amount of tannin allows it to age for long periods, though the wine is generally not as firm on the palate as cabernet sauvignon. Tempranillo’s good amount of acidity gives the wines made from it a sense of precision, yet it is not as high in acidity as pinot noir. When young, tempranillo’s flavors are a burst of cherries. After aging, the wine tends to take on a deep, complex earthiness. Tempranillo also grows in Portugal, where it’s known as tinta roriz and is one of the grapes that make up Port. Additionally, the grape is grown in Argentina and in California.

What Makes Wine Sexy?

It’s a WineSpeed tradition on Valentine’s Day to ask winemakers what they think makes wine sexy. Herewith, some fascinating responses from a group of winemakers and vintners we think are pretty special.

Fermenting Inside Out

In honor of Beaujolais Nouveau being released next Thursday, November 21st, here are a few words of explanation about carbonic maceration. Carbonic maceration is a type of fermentation in which bunches of uncrushed grapes are placed whole inside a closed tank. The weight of the bunches on top crushes those on the bottom, releasing juice that ferments in the standard manner. For the intact bunches on top, however, fermentation takes place inside each grape, also known as intracellular fermentation, leading to an extremely juicy style of wine. Carbonic maceration is used extensively in Beaujolais, where it heightens the wine’s already grapey flavor.


Number (in millions) of frog legs consumed per year in France. Cuisses de grenouille (KWEES deh gruh-noo-EE) is particularly traditional in the region of the Dombes, northeast of Lyon. Frog legs are rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and potassium, and they taste like… well, chicken. While frogs were caught in the wild for human consumption in Europe until the 20th century—today they are mainly imported from Asia.


Number of acres of grapevines in California that should be pulled out in order to balance supply and demand, according to Jeff Bittner, President of Allied Grape Growers.  Last year, the state’s surplus of grapes meant that hundreds of vineyards throughout the state were left unpicked. When the demand for wine is down, surplus grapes can often be sold for brandy and grape concentrate production. However, markets for those products are also saturated.


Amount (in $U.S.) paid per bottle for the barrel of Rudd Estate “Leslie’s Block” Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2018—the highest grossing lot at the Premiere Napa Valley (PNV) Wine Auction last weekend. The lot was dedicated to the late Leslie Rudd whose highly regarded winery in Oakville in Napa Valley is now run by his daughter Samantha. Gregor Greber from Napa Wine Ltd. in Zürich, Switzerland made the winning bid saying, “Leslie Rudd was one of the first people who inspired us.” The wines offered at PNV are created exclusively for the auction.

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