The Madeira Wines of Blandy’s

Blandys MadeiraOn a trip to the fascinating MUST wine conference in Portugal last year, I had the opportunity for a fleeting visit to the stunning island of Madeira. I’d visited a few times in the past, including spending some time with Chris Blandy, current head of the island’s most important wine producer, The Madeira Wine Company. MWC owns Blandy’s,  Cossart Gordon, Leacock’s and other Madeira brands.

It was great to catch up once again with some wines in Blandy’s current collection, including some fabulous aged single vintage wines. Long-serving winemaker Francisco Albuquerque led me through the tasting which once again demonstrated how exceptional these old wines can be, though the the moderately priced 10-year-old range more than held its own, pound for pound.

The Wines

(2019) Lovely golden colour and a nose of shellac and walnut, a fruity pear-like hint. Sweet, with immediate intensity. Mouthfilling richness and concentration, orange peel and candied fruit and again a walnut richness. Around 55gl of residual sugar, which is barely detectable.
(2019) Rather more sherried, compared with the Sercial, with honey and walnut and the palate intensely sweet, pure sweet grape and cherry freshness to the acids, but the 75gl of sugar more apparent.
(2019) The residual sugar here rises to 95gl in a wine with such intense raisin and brown sugar character, lovely depth of caramel-edged bittersweet orange. Marmalady, long and deliciously moreish.
(2019) As is traditional, the Malmsey is the sweetest in this 10-year-old range, with 125gl of sugar. Again into walnut and shellac tones over the Christmas cake fruit. So intense on the palate, but that thrilling balance with the searing acidity shimmering through.
(2019) Quite dark, fabulous sweet richness, a little of that shellac lift, huge core of intense sweetness balanced against scintillating acidity again, rapier thrust of lemon zest and some salt. 74g/l of residual sugar and a thrilling wine.
(2019) Second time I've been lucky enough to taste this, previously scored 99/100. Lots of complex volatile notes here, depth of walnut and Raisin fruit, amazing concentration yet again, Seville orange and such intense wine. Salty again in the finish, but so long, so deeply concentrated.
(2019) And a second chance to taste this wine too, also previously scoring 98/100. A little rancio character, with a little coffee and Seville orange. Green fig and olilve, sultana and then a touch of curry leaf, shellac. Shimmering and delicious. I drank this one.

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