New Releases from Blandy and Cossart Gordon

A month or so ago a lovely little ‘cesto de vindima’ (vintage basket) came my way from the Madeira Wine Company with samples of four new wines being launched in 2021. These included an unusual Listrão from Blandy’s, the last cask from one of the last harvests at William Leacock’s vineyard at Porto Santo. It is the first time that I have tasted a wine from this grape, bottled with considerable age. It is a ‘must have’ for any serious Madeira collector as there will be no more. The 1978 Bual from Cossart Gordon is utterly magnificent. I have tasted and retasted the wines below (one of the greta joys of Madeira) and they  are listed in the order they were tasted.  

Blandy 2008 Sercial Colheita ****

Made from grapes grown at Pomar Novo in Jardim da Serra at a relatively high altitude (400m) on the south side of the island: pale orange-amber; delicate ginger, all-spice with a hint of toffee on the nose; very dry in style (just 40g/l residual sugar), green tea character with the merest trace of butterscotch mid-palate and a long, leafy filigree finish. Dry but very gentle in style. There are 2000 bottles of this but more has been kept back to bottle as a frasqueira (vintage). 18

Blandy 20 Year Old Malvasia****/*****

There isn’t much old Malmsey in stock. This wine is a blend of 7 vintages, the oldest of which is from 1979. Old mahogany in hue; lovely high-toned aromas, rich, demerara character, dried fig and hint of bolo de mel (honey cake); dried figs, apricots and raisins on the palate, lovely richness and depth, suave yet fresh too with a herbaceous edge, contrasting flavours beautifully melded together on the palate, bitter-sweet candied fruit finish. Greater than the sum of its parts: this has real poise. 2000 bottles in total. 18.5 

Blandy 1977 Listrão ****

From one of the last harvests at William Leacock’s Quinta do Ribeiro Salgado on the island of Porto Santo: the grapes were shipped to Funchal where the wine was made. Listrão is the traditional grape grown on the sandy soils of Porto Santo and is the same as Malvasia Rei on the mainland and Palomino Fino in Spain (Jerez). Listrão produces wines with relatively low levels of acidity and is usually bottled young as dry (and rather bland) aperitif. This is the last Listrão in stock.   Pale to mid-amber in tone, gentle toasted almond and hazelnut character on the nose with a touch of oxidation of the alcohol; light and playful initially on the palate combining a lovely, savoury toasty character with a touch of marmalade richness (90 g/l residual sugar) followed by a dry savoury, slightly dusty finish. Fascinating to see what Listrão is capable of with age. Just 751 bottles in total. 17.5

Cossart Gordon 1978 Bual *****

Made from grapes grown in Calheta on the south side of the island, trodden in a traditional wooden lagar, now only seen in museums. Very deep mahogany colour with a glint of olive green; very concentrated and quite high toned on the nose (1.1g/l VA), aromatic and complex with traces of cedar and tobacco box; gloriously rich and focused on the palate (105 g/l residual sugar), Elvas plums retaining greengage freshness and acidity which stops the wine from cloying, spicy too, long and beautifully poised with a mouth-watering finish. 1294 bottles in total. 19.5


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