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Blandy's Malmsey, 20 Years Old 50cl

Madeira from Portugal
A new wine blended from eight vintages, this Madeira is deep in colour with wonderfully complex dried raisin and molasses notes lifted by intense but fresh salty sappiness on the powerful long palate.
Out of stock
Code: MA481

Wine characteristics

  • Madeira
  • 8 - Very sweet
  • 20% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • Within two years of purchase
  • 50cl

Portugal

Like its neighbour Spain, Portugal has been undergoing something of a quiet revolution over the last twenty years or so. A reluctance to follow trends and plant international grapes is now paying dividends and the new breed of full-blooded, fruit-filled wines are more than able to compete on the world stage. The unique flavours that are the hallmark of Portugal's indigenous grape varieties have become its trump card.

Vinho Verde, sometimes spritzy and youthful and sometimes made with the aim of creating a more serious white wine, is in the verdant north-west, bordering the Spanish province of Galicia. A wet and fertile area, the grapes ripen with moderate sugar levels and refreshing acidity, meaning that the wines are usually lowish in alcohol at about 10-11%. Astringent, low alcohol red Vinho Verde is also produced.

Trás-os-Montes is a remote region of harsh winters and hot, dry summers in the north-east of the country is bound on one side by high mountains and on the other the...
Like its neighbour Spain, Portugal has been undergoing something of a quiet revolution over the last twenty years or so. A reluctance to follow trends and plant international grapes is now paying dividends and the new breed of full-blooded, fruit-filled wines are more than able to compete on the world stage. The unique flavours that are the hallmark of Portugal's indigenous grape varieties have become its trump card.

Vinho Verde, sometimes spritzy and youthful and sometimes made with the aim of creating a more serious white wine, is in the verdant north-west, bordering the Spanish province of Galicia. A wet and fertile area, the grapes ripen with moderate sugar levels and refreshing acidity, meaning that the wines are usually lowish in alcohol at about 10-11%. Astringent, low alcohol red Vinho Verde is also produced.

Trás-os-Montes is a remote region of harsh winters and hot, dry summers in the north-east of the country is bound on one side by high mountains and on the other the border with Spain (the name means 'behind the mountains'. The schistous soils and the grapes are similar to those of the Douro. Reds are often lighter and more aromatic than those of neighbouring Douro.

The Douro is one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, and deservedly Portugal's best known, the Douro has quickly emerged to lead the way as the country's premium wine region and there is a real pioneering spirit amongst the winemakers here, port shippers included. Although there is an enormous variety of different terroirs within the Douro Valley, this is essentially a sparsely populated, hot, arid region where grapes are grown on spectacularly steep terraced slopes. Wine grapes are the same as those that go into Port. Wines tend to be high in tannin and flavour.

Dão is south of the Douro on granite slopes protected by high mountains and pine forests. The region produces one of Portugal's better-known reds of the same name. Once dominated by rather lack-lustre co-operatives, the area now has a whole clutch of dynamic, small producers making elegant, approachable and enjoyable wines.

Between the mountains and the coast, on fertile clay soils, is Bairrada (barro is Portuguese for clay). Better known for red wines, this is one of the only wine regions in Portugal to be dominated by a single grape variety,the tannic, high-acid baga, making wines that can be tough and astringent in their youth but which soften with age, becoming beguilingly perfumed. These days many blend baga with non-indigenous grapes to make a friendlier style, but the greatest are pure baga. The area also benefits from late-afternoon breezes which favour the production of fresh, food-friendly whites and increasingly popular sparkling wines.

Beira Interior is a rather disparate region covering a vast swathe of inland Portugal south of the Douro and east of Dão. Vineyards are grown at altitude on granite soils. In the north, grapes are similar to those of the Douro while the south has a whole mix of varieties.

Lisboa is a large, coastal region that runs north from Lisbon. Atlantic breezes help cool the vineyards and maintain the fresh acidity and aromatics in the mostly white wines. North of Bucelas, on the Atlantic west coast lies the strip of rolling countryside that contains nine separate DOCs under the umbrella name of Lisboa. This is Portugal's largest wine producing region in volume terms.

Bucelas was the first wine The Society ever sold! This tiny DOC is one of the closest to Lisbon. It produces breezy dry whites which are popular locally.

Tejo was formerly known as Ribatejo is known for good, everyday drinking wines in a range of styles from a wide range of permitted grapes. This region lies on either side of the River Tagus

Lying across the mouth of theTagus river, the Península de Setúbal is a flat, sandy region with the exception of the Serra da Arrábida a short chain of mountains with clay and limestone soils. There are two DOCs here, Palmela north-east of the peninsula where the castelão grape is ideally suited to the sandy soils, and Setúbal, where a sweet fortified wine is made primarily from muscat of Alexandria.

The Alentejo province stretches south from the Tagus to the Algarve and east to the border with Spain and covers almost a third of continental Portugal. Divided into seven diverse sub-regions, the undulating hills are home to many crops. Despite the challengingly arid climate here, this is a dynamic region, referred to sometimes as Portugal's 'new world'.
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Madeira Wine Company

The Madeira Wine Company has come a long way since it was formed in 1913: today, it accounts for around 35% of the island’s total Madeira production.

It began as the joint venture of two producers who wanted to survive a bleak economic period by pooling their resources and reducing costs. They formed the Madeira Wine Association, and over the years several other companies joined them to brave the increasingly competitive and costly market.

One of the most notable additions was Blandy’s, who came on board in 1925, at the same time as Leacock’s. Along with Cossart Gordon and Co, who joined in 1953, and Rutherford and Miles, these four companies today make up the main brands associated with the company’s premium Madeira production.

Blandy’s is the company that has had by far the most involvement in the running of organisation, perhaps due to its significant experience: the only remaining Madeira company that is still family-run, in 2011 it celebrated 200 years of production, having made a considerable contribution to the history and development of Madeira.

John Ernest Blandy became chairman of the Madeira Wine Company in 1925. His right-hand man was a previous Blandy’s manager, Thomas L Mullins, who instilled in the union a spirit of keeping each company true to its own style while reducing overheads. This ethos exists to this day, which is perhaps why the organisation has lasted as long as it has.

The Madeira Wine Association didn’t become The Madeira Wine Company until 1981. By...
The Madeira Wine Company has come a long way since it was formed in 1913: today, it accounts for around 35% of the island’s total Madeira production.

It began as the joint venture of two producers who wanted to survive a bleak economic period by pooling their resources and reducing costs. They formed the Madeira Wine Association, and over the years several other companies joined them to brave the increasingly competitive and costly market.

One of the most notable additions was Blandy’s, who came on board in 1925, at the same time as Leacock’s. Along with Cossart Gordon and Co, who joined in 1953, and Rutherford and Miles, these four companies today make up the main brands associated with the company’s premium Madeira production.

Blandy’s is the company that has had by far the most involvement in the running of organisation, perhaps due to its significant experience: the only remaining Madeira company that is still family-run, in 2011 it celebrated 200 years of production, having made a considerable contribution to the history and development of Madeira.

John Ernest Blandy became chairman of the Madeira Wine Company in 1925. His right-hand man was a previous Blandy’s manager, Thomas L Mullins, who instilled in the union a spirit of keeping each company true to its own style while reducing overheads. This ethos exists to this day, which is perhaps why the organisation has lasted as long as it has.

The Madeira Wine Association didn’t become The Madeira Wine Company until 1981. By this point, although Blandy’s were still running the company, it knew that even its wealth of experience wasn’t enough to achieve the worldwide distribution it needed. The team sought the help of renowned port brand Symington’s, with whom the company formed a partnership in 1989.

It wasn’t just the Madeira Wine Company’s distribution needs that Symington’s met – they also advised the various producers involved on their branding, and brought production methods at the company’s winery to modern, state-of-the-art standards. In 2000, the Madeira Wine Company completed a huge renovation project to improve its blending and storage facilities.

Although Symington’s is still involved with the company, Blandy’s took control again in 2011, with the appointment of Chris Blandy as chief executive. Since taking over again, Blandy’s has overseen the purchase of the company’s first vineyards: although, as is the norm, most of its grapes come from selected growers across the island, the company now has a few select plots of its own.

The wine is all made at the company’s winery in Mercês, where the team also have a cooperage to make all its own casks. Winemaking is overseen by the award-winning Francisco Albequerque, who expertly manages to produce each of the four leading brands in their respective individual styles.

When it comes to maturation, the company ages a large portion of its oldest wines using the traditional canteiro system, whereby wines are gently warmed in the lofts of the winery. Although this natural method isn’t suitable for younger wines, such as The Society’s Full Rich Madeira, it is perhaps a testament to how dearly the company holds its rich and long heritage.
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