1845 Centenary Solera Bual
Clear, dark brown colour with a golden green nuance, slow
teardrop and evenly balanced. Characteristic, very fragrant and complex bouquet
with torrefaction flavours, resins and spices. Medium Rich, very smooth, mellow,
bodied with a long aftertaste with notes of wood and resin.
92 Points: "Coffee-colored and
cloudy, with a greenish rim, this has singed rubber and coffee aromas, with
chocolate and molasses flavors accented by a lime note. Complex, rich and
aggressive, with tangy balancing acidity, finishing on a butter and chocolate
note." - Bruce Sanderson, Wine Spectator, Sept. 30, 2002
Madeira has very specific rules for the Solera system. With
Madeira, producers are limited as to how often the solera can be replenished and
how much wine can be added each time casks are topped up. Furthermore, one can
only add wines of equivalent quality and style, therefore, apart from coming
from the same grape variety, the wine added cannot be too young as that would be
of a different style. Although the wines added can be introduced at any time
during the maturation, after about forty years in cask, the wine is transferred
from Brazilian oak barrels to large glass demijohns. The wines are then matured
in glass until ready for shipping, when they are transferred to modern 750 ml.
The presumption is that wines added to soleras are younger
than the original vintage, however, according to Michael Broadbents’s Great
Vintage Wine Book, the mother solera for the 1845 was actually from the 1844
vintage. Oidium (a mildew) killed all the vines in the 1850's and phylloxera
destroyed all the vines in the 1860's, so there was not much wine available to
add to soleras between 1845 and 1885.
Finally, it is interesting to reflect on the history of the
1845 vintage. This wine was made the year that the potato famine in Ireland
started, at that time Polk was the President. This wine was made 20 years before
Lincoln was assassinated and 100 years before the end of the second world war.