It has long been said that John Blandy, the founder of the family business, arrived in Madeira in 1807 aged twenty-three as a quartermaster to General Beresford, commander of the British garrison. For 200 years, Blandy’s Madeira has been synonymous with quality Madeira wine. Various quality vineyards grown at between 300m and 400m on the north of the island near Sao Vicente. The vines are planted on terraced slopes with volcanic soil made up of dark clay and grit (Terra Grossa)and heavy clayey earth that does not drain water and cracks when dry (Massapez). Malmsey is one of the noble varieties on Madeira. It is often blended with Tinta Negra Mole in the production of Malmsey which is the island's richest and sweetest wine.
Blandy's Madeira Malmsey 5 Year old
Blandy's 5 year old Malmsey was aged in American oak casks in the traditional 'Canteiro' system. This comprises of the gentle heating of the wine in the lofts of the lodges in Funchal. Over the years the wine is transferred from the top floors to the middle floors and eventually to the ground floor where it is cooler. After this gradual 'estufagem' the wine underwent racking and fining before the blend was assembled and bottled. This 5 year old Malmsey is a full bodied rich Madeira with a long lingering finish. Dark, golden brown with characteristic Madeira bouquet of raisins, toffee and nuts. It may be best savored after a meal, on its own or with dessert to appreciate its mellowed robust character to the full.
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Blandys Madeira Rainwater
Blandy's Rainwater underwent fermentation off the skins with natural yeast at between 24°C - 26°C C in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. After approximately 4 days, fortification with grape brandy takes place, arresting fermentation at the desired degree of sweetness. Blandy's Rainwater was transferred to 'estufa' tanks where the wine underwent a cyclic heating and cooling process between 45°C and 50°C over a period of 3 months. Blandy's Rainwater is fined and does not require decanting. It has been bottled when ready for drinking and will keep for several months after opening.
Nutty aromas and a light flavor, but firm acidity and medium length. Rainwater is a medium dry pale Madeira that is delicious taken chilled before meals but also goes well with dessert. It’s elegant and refined bouquet has made it a universal favorite.
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It was quickly discovered that the fortified wines picked up on the Madeira island actually improved after crossing the tropics. The island's producers quickly cottoned on to this and developed rooms called Estufas that simulated the hot and humid environment the barrels would have been exposed to inside a ship.
Some of the finest examples come from Blandy's who's extensive range spans from a young 5 year bottling through to vintages going back over 100 years.