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Vintage Madeira

 

The consumption of madeira is now considered something of an arcane rite performed only by dowagers and spinsters wearing lace bonnets. I suspect that this is because it has suffered unfavourable comparison with sherry, the market of which has been swamped with cheap, sweet and rather disgusting examples, severely damaging the drink’s reputation.

 

This is both a shame and a blessing: a shame because the producers of the fine stuff – and here we are talking about some of the world’s finest wines of all – struggle to sell what they make; a blessing because, for the quality, we can all drink rather cheaply.

 

Port makes for a good birthday or anniversary present. The problem with it is that it is only made in certain vintages and that, once open, it should be consumed quickly, preferably at one sitting.

 

Madeira, in my view, is a more complex, interesting wine. It is made virtually every vintage and not only improves for days after opening, but will keep, once opened, for a month and more in a decanter.

 

There are four main styles, each made from and named after specific grape varieties:

Sercial = dry, the driest of the madeiras. Drunk as an aperitif.

Verdelho = medium dry. Best on its own (perhaps mid-morning?) or with delicately flavoured dishes.

Bual (or Boal) = rich & full-bodied, but with a dry finish. A fortifier, good at elevenses and tea-time!

Malmsey (or Malvasia) = fully sweet and luscious, the sweetest. To be drunk at the end of the meal.

 

If you’ve never experienced a Madeira under full sail, try one and be hooked by its, admittedly esoteric, brilliance…

 

Vintage Madeira

 

Here is a small example of the kind of wines we can offer. We have access to a much bigger range; far too many wines to list here, but including most of the vintages of the last 150 years or so.

Do contact us  if you are looking for something from a specific year.

 

 

ALL PRICES ARE PER SINGLE BOTTLE AND INCLUDE VAT & DELIVERY TO MAINLAND UK

 

 

1976 Malmsey, Blandy - £110

This has a beautiful pale golden colour and a fragrant, rich nose. This is lush, sweet and absolutely delicious. It is also more elegant, less broad and powerful than some wines of the past.

 

 

1971 Verdelho, Leacock - £100

This is a dark bronze, mature colour and gives off sweet, Demerara aromas. A superb mouthful of fruit and fresh acidity. This is seriously harmonious, with great follow-through. Excellent wine.

 

 

1958 Boal, Cossart - £140

Very dark bronze colour with, as is so typical with fully mature Madeira, a green rim. The nose is very sweet, with notes of caramel and nut. There is a vast array of flavours to this sweet wine and a bite of acidity at the finish that cleans the mouth. The taste lingers and lingers. Great wine.

 

 

1934 Verdelho, Cossart - £200

Very dark bronze colour with an iodine rim. There is a great depth of flavour here, the background of which is citrus, maybe grapefruit. The complexity makes this a fascinating mouthful. Long and utterly enthralling and really beyond description.