Saturday, January 30, 2016

Pre-Madeira Trip Tasting: Blandy's 10-Year

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

Well, I’m headed off to Madeira tomorrow. I’m more than a bit stoked for this trip — this volcanic island jutting out of the Atlantic has been on my bucket list for years. I’ll be there for a week, tasting wine, touring vineyards, taking in the views and taking lots of notes.

When I get back, I'll have a series of posts exploring this storied island and its eponymous wines.

In the meantime, and to get things kicked off, I recently tasted through four Madeiras from renowned producer Blandy's. I previously tasted through Blandy’s 5-Year Madeiras, and I took the excuse of being snowed in by Winter Storm Jonas to taste through the 10-year wines from this producer.

All of these wines are aged 10 years in old American oak. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. They all retail for about $35 for a 500ml bottle.

N.V. Blandy's Madeira Sercial 10 Years Old - Portugal, Madeira
Medium gold color. Smells of orange peel, apricot, shaved ginger, almond and a mix of floral and slight herbal notes. Full and rich on the palate, but like a good Sercial the acid cleans it all up and keeps the wine fresh despite the richness. Flavors of baked apple and orange peel, topped with raw almond, ginger, dried white flowers, sea salt. Bold but so refreshing. I love Sercials for the way the bright crunchy aspects are integrated well with the richer flavors. (90 pts.)
Light orange-caramel color. Some bright aromas of orange peel and lemon zinger tea mixed with elements of raw almond, olive oil, honey and caramel candies. Full but juicy on the palate with a bit of tanginess, light sweetness but the wine stays fresh. Orange marmalade, honeyed lemon tea, almond, olive oil, dried flowers – this has a lot of really intriguing flavors. Rich but nicely balanced – what I look for in Verdelho. (90 pts.)

N.V. Blandy's Madeira Bual 10 Years Old - Portugal, Madeira
Light brown/dark orange color. Richer aromas of quince paste, dried apricot, honey, toasted almonds and clove. Rich texture, plenty of sweetness but that’s balanced (at least somewhat) by a bitof acidity. Nutty and honeyed flavor profile with flavors of apricot jam, dried mango, along with toasted almond, white tea, candied pecans, some spicy clove elements. I love the sweet richness, but the wine doesn’t feel overwhelming. A sweet wine that finishes fresh. (89 pts.)

N.V. Blandy's Madeira Malmsey 10 Years Old - Portugal, Madeira
That classic copper brown color. Aromas of dates, fig paste, spiced pumpkin pie, caramel, honey, and a floral note lifting from the richness. Mouth-filling and unctuous on the palate but there’s a hint of freshness. Flavors of dates and figs blend with orange marmalade, molasses, honeycomb, pecan pie, clove and rich nougat. Rich but complex and ultimately damned enjoyable without being too heavy.
(90 pts.)

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