The fortified wines of the island of Madeira are, in my opinion, significantly underrated. Having perhaps last enjoyed popularity in the nineteenth century, most of the Madeira wines are desperately out of fashion. Yet, like sherry, there is no particular reason for this based on the quality of the wines produced – except perhaps at the lowest price points. Instead, it is a region ripe with bargains for the quality conscious wine drinker.
Blandy’s is a venerable name for those familiar with Madeira’s history, and it is now part of the Symington family group of companies. This particular blend – the 10 year old – impressed considerably. Lest readers already be familiar with the Madeira production process, I won’t repeat it here. Suffice to say that the resulting wines are robust, and will last for months even after opening, and provide a perfect dessert style wine – sweet without being cloying.
Blandy’s 10 year old Malmsey, made from malvasia grapes, is a light intensity tawny in appearance and opens to aromatics of caramel, hazelnuts and raisins. The palate is sweet, with flavours of nuts, caramel and rancio characters of butter and oil starting to show through and is set to refreshingly high acidity, as is the trademark of wines of the Madeira island. Stunning length – probably more than 30 seconds – means that the flavours of this wine are hard to overlook. This is an outstanding wine that is drinking extremely well now, and I expect will do so well into into the foreseeable future. Outstanding