Newly Released Vintages from Blandy, Cossart Gordon and Miles

The following wines are new vintage releases from the Madeira Wine Company, first shown at the Madeira Wine Festival held on the island at the start of September 2018:  

Miles 1997 Tinta Negra  ****

This is one of a new generation of frasqueira (vintage) wines made from Tinta Negra, the most planted grape on the island since the phylloxera epidemic in the late nineteenth century.  Aged in seasoned 650 litre casks made from American oak for 20 years, it was bottled earlier this year. Golden, red-tinged amber in colour; subdued initially on the nose, opening up to reveal treacle and toffee apple aromas with just a touch of spirit showing through; fine and focused on your palate with quince-like richness (120 g/l residual sugar) perfectly offset by citrusy acidity, youthful astringency on the finish: long, linear and beautifully clean and clear.  This is the best I have tasted from this grape variety and the first vintage wine from Miles (formerly Rutherford & Miles) for many a year. 17.5 

Cossart Gordon Bual 1989   ****/*****

Aged in seasoned American oak for 29 years before being bottled in 2018: bright pale to mid-amber; lovely aromas, elvas plums with a hint of leathery, malty complexity; greengage with a touch of savoury wood smoke, very fresh and lively with grapefruit acidisty, quite rich in style mid palate (89g/l residual sugar) with a wow of a finish, long, pure and delicate, seemingly quite dry for Bual. Wonderful poise.  18.5     

Cossart Gordon 1985 Sercial ****

Aged for 33 years in seasoned American oak casks before being bottled in 2018: mid-deep amber colour,  verging on mahogany, quite deep for Sercial; rather demure on the nose initially, a touch of sweet and sour with vanilla and butterscotch emerging; seemingly quite rich in style  for a Sercial (54g/l residual sugar), dried apricot and thin cut marmalade with a hint of white pepper, lovely texture of age mid-palate with a characteristically astringent finish, shot through with a streak of limey acidity. Not the most expressive Sercial but readily accessible and easy to drink.   17.5  

Blandy’s 1977 Malmsey  ***** 

This is a glorious one-off from a vineyard close to the centre of Funchal that no longer exists.  In 1973 Horace Zino, a former Managing Director of the Madeira Wine Association (MWA), converted a banana plantation at Quinta das Maravilhas into a vineyard planted with Malvasia de São Jorge.  In 1977 the vineyard was sufficiently well established to harvest a crop of grapes which were pressed at the MWA and returned to the quinta to be fortified and aged in cask. Having spent 41 years in wood at the Zino family quinta samples were presented to Francisco Albuquerque at the Madeira Wine Company (MWC) who professed himself to be pleasantly surprised by the wine’s freshness and complexity.  It was bottled as Blandy’s 1977 Malvasia in May 2018. This is the only wine produced and aged at Quinta das Maravilhas. Subsequent harvests were sold to the MWA until the vineyard ceased to be productive and was uprooted in the 1980s.    

Mid-deep amber with an orange glint; rich, subdued quince marmalade character on the nose with a touch of vanilla and all-spice; similarly rich and beautifully concentrated on the palate with lovely weight and texture mid-palate, quite rich and almost fat in style (125 g/l residual sugar), offset by peach and apricot-like acidity, slightly malty with a lovely pure, finish, just a touch bitter-sweet. This is a really glorious wine with a uniquely wonderful provenance.  19. 



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