Vintage Madeira 1977 - 1916

 I am grateful to Michael Schuster for inviting me to co-present this tasting of Madeiras from Blandy, Cossart Gordon and Leacock. Of the eight wines in the tasting I had only tasted three before and the 1940, 1952, 1920, 1977 and 1916 are entirely new to me. All the wines had been double decanted the day before the tasting.

The wines are liested here in the order they were tasted as follows:

Blandy 1966 Sercial (Bottled 2004) ****

Pale amber; lifted and refined on the nose, high toned with a touch of wood varnish and smoke; lemon and lime marmalade, lovely crisp acidity which stops well short of being searing, very beautiful and refined with a touch of savoury nutty character on the finish. A lovely wine, quite gentle for a Sercial. 17.5

Cossart Gordon 1940 Sercial  ****

Pale reddish amber colour; savoury consomée nose, beefy, slightly toasty, quite complex with a touch of autumn leaves emerging; wonderfully lithe on the palate, more think cut English marmalade (than thin cut) with beautiful texture and weight in the mouth, quite rich in style for a Sercial but with near perfect balance on the finish. 18  

Blandy 1968 Verdelho  (Bottled 1994)  ***/****

Mid-deep amber; not very aromatic or expressive on the nose, a touch savoury with a hint of smokey matchstick; lovely richness on the palate offset by powerful mouthwatering acidity leading to a long savoury-sweet finish with the acidity prominent all the way through. 16.5

Leacock 1952 Jubilee Verdelho ****

Unusually deep amber/mahogany; slightly soupy and autumnal on the nose with just a touch of wet dog on an autumn day! Seemingly quite rich for a Verdelho, more Bual in style, thick cut marmalade on the palate offset by lithe citrusy acidity. Long and lithe. 17

Cossart Gordon 1969 Bual  ***

Mid-red tinged amber; quite rich and a touch soupy on the nose, clean but without a great deal of definition; full and toasty, Muscovado sugar, caramelised with some dusty tannin mid-palate and on to the finish. Rather course in style but balanced nonetheless.  15.5

Cossart Gordon 1920 Bual ****

Mid-deep mahogany; very deep and profound on the nose, not that expressive for a wine of this age but rich and wonderful with; very full but also quite dry in style for a Bual, a dry citrus tang rising on the palate leading to a wonderfully tangy finish, let down by being just a touch soily. 17.5   

Cossart Gordon 1977 Malmsey ***/****

Mid amber in colour; not very expressive on the nose, still smells fresh and young suggesting this would have been better with a bit more time in cask; rich and smokey on the palate, perhaps a little simple against its peers in this tasting, figgy richness offset by lovely limey acidity with some texture towards a rich, satisfying finish.   16.5

Cossart Gordon 1916 Malmsey ****/*****

Lovely burnished mahogany colour; extraordinarily complex on the nose, compost (lawn clippings at the end of summer), touch of cats pee and well as  roasted coffee; a wow of a wine on the palate, rich crystalised fruits, Elvas plums and dried figs, quite pungent and powerful with a rich yet focused finish, verging on bitter sweet, that goes on and on and on….    18.5 

Scoring

19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)

17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)

15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)

13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)

10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)

8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)

Below 8 Faulty