Our recent record cold snap was reason enough to haul out some Madeira! Oh how those icy nights called out for walnuts, Panettone and warm, cooked fruit. There are numerous types of Madeira, from rather dry to sweet nectar. What I had was one of the sweet varieties called “Malmsey,” named for the grape, (Malvasia) from which it is made. Madeira is an odd duck in that it is actually an oxidized wine. As a result, it can’t go bad! Blandy’s has been making Madeira since 1811, and I have been fortunate to taste some of their old vintage Madeiras at a venerable age. (The 1910 Malmsey in 2002!) So, for a far lower price, cuddle up and enjoy this 10-year-old example. Its unique character will make you feel like you’re in a wood-paneled library, with Churchill cigars and a roaring fire nearby.
Blandy’s 10 years Malmsey Madeira $30 srp (500 ml)
Dark brown translucent color. A bouquet reminiscent of English toffee, Christmas Stollen and lightly singed fruit morsels. Flavors are mouth-coating with suggestions of caramel, rich toffee and honeyed fruits that linger long on the palate. The surprise is the wonderful kick of acidity on the finish that prevents this from being the least bit cloying. Wonderful to sip all alone, I particularly like it to accompany walnuts, pecans and good friends. Drink now and at your leisure.