One of the UK’s leading independent merchants

At Patrick Grubb’s Madeira Tasting in London I run into the head buyer for one of the UK’s leading independent merchants. He tells me that due to the current economic uncertainty they have a complete moratorium on buying more wine. His chief worry is that customers will drink their cellars rather than buy more in the circumstances, something that had crossed my mind as well. As always there were some thrilling wines at Pat Grubb’s tasting, none more so than a Madeira Velhissimo (probably from the Vasconcelos family); a beautifully pure, delicate nineteenth century wine that sang from the glass. It is almost certainly the last bottle in existence but there will be nothing better than a fine old Madeira to lift your spirits in what looks to be a nasty forthcoming recession.