Federal Wine & Spirits

29 State Street, Boston, MA 02109

Read about the wines in this tasting

Read our notes


A pleasant reunion for some, a discovery for others. All showed a rather pronounced acidity that Tasters new to madeira found appetizing and invigorating. All were nice representations of their grape and type.
January 17, 2018


           People asked how was madeira different from other fortified wines, specifically port and sherry. One is the crispness that comes from its low vigor grapes and windswept climate.

           Also madeira is well oxidized from the baking it undergoes in the winery. This gives it a caramelized overtone, but also makes it far more stable once opened than either port or sherry. We opened some of the bottles at the tasting. I told tasters that others had been open well before the tasting, but did not say that it had been months , or in the case of some of the Rare Wine Company examples, over a year. No one noticed a difference. All showed well and typical.

           The three Sercials showed nicely what age and selection can do in a wine's development. The 5 year Blandy's was rounded and primary. The 10 - 20 year old began to get a little nuttier with greater depth. The Verdelho showed rounded and pretty. It had been open a long time. People seemed to gravitate to the sweeter wines. The Blandy's Alvada, a five-year aged blend of Bual and Malmsey was very good pleasure per dollar, albeit less defined in character.

           The group tended to prefer the sweeter Malmsey to Bual, and the ten -year to the five year version of each.

           Any bottle would be provide a nice homecoming sip. Some tasting bottles are still open in the store. We'd be happy to pour you a sample even if you can't make it in for a few months.            


A Madeira Primer

The better wines are named for their grapes.

Sercial wines are dry and lighter bodied, with fresh and present intense and vibrant aromas. Sercial begins its life pale in color, but over the course of time it deepens and darkens to amber. Drink it as aperitif or with very rich dishes.

Verdelho is vinified to produce medium-dry fortified wines, more fruity and round than sweet.

Bual has good acidity that balances its sweetness, making very perfumed medium bodied, copper-colored medium-sweet wines that are intensively perfumed, rich in spice and dried fruit. They age very well.

Malmsey is more a style than a single grape variety. Young, it is gold colored, Old Malmseys become dark amber. They are rich, smooth and luscious on the palate, with complex notes of mocha, dried fruit and honey, hints of tropical fruit, butterscotch, toffee-nuts and marmalade.



Special tasting prices are good through Friday in store or at home.

 Blandy's Sercial 5 yr Madeira; Color: Light brown tan; Aroma: Clean, light & fresh, crisp minerality; Mouth: Light rather fresh clean firm very fresh herbal crisp but rounded in body; Very Good - Excellent 29.99, Tasting Price 26.99

Rare Wine Co. Historic Series Charleston Sercial Madeira; Color: light reddish tan; Aroma: clean tight, chewy round, a pronounced sweet nuttiness; Mouth: sweet rounded on the attack, firm structure, fleshy, rather tight acid, clean long; Very Good - Excellent 60, Tasting Price 53.99

2002 Blandy's Sercial Colheita 500 ml; Color: very light; Aroma: fresh rather clean, pretty, light fresh, elegant; Mouth: very fine pretty fine acid, elegant, rather firm, fine acid, poise, clean ; Excellent 68, Tasting Price 58.99

 Rare Wine Co. Savannah Verdelho Special Reserve; Color: Light yellow tan; Aroma: Clean rather dryish lightly sweet, pretty subtly floral ; Mouth: Bright acidity light, sweet clean leanish, good intensity, firm, well-structured spicy, clean, fine; Very Good - Excellent 60, Tasting Price 53.99

 Blandy's Alvada 500 ml; Color: Brown ; Aroma: Lightly fresh rather pretty; Mouth: Semisweet, light lifted clean racy and fresh, light toffee on the finish; good length; Very Good Plus 23.99, Tasting Price 21.59

 Blandy's Bual 10 Year old 500 ml; Color: medium dark; Aroma: earthy, rather clean, pretty, light mocha chocolate; Mouth: sweet rather clean fleshy, brightly juicy, rather tightly clean, fine acid, long; Very Good - Excellent 33, Tasting Price 29.99

 Blandy's Malmsey 5 yr; Color: Light medium tan; Aroma: Clean fresh light nutty; Mouth: Rather thick herbal firm well structured, chewy sweet middle, clean light, long very satisfying; Very Good - Excellent 29.99, Tasting Price 26.99

 Blandy's Malmsey 10 Year old 500 ml; Color: light tan; Aroma: light mocha, rather dense, heady; Mouth: bright clean forward, clean racy fine acid, Very Good - Excellent33, Tasting Price 29.99

Rare Wine Co. Historic Series New York Malmsey Madeira; Color: light tan red; Aroma: chewy thickish, chocolate infected caramel; Mouth: light sweet delicate, sweet acid caramel,very clean, long finish; Very Good - Excellent 60, Tasting Price 53.99


Order by phone at 617.367.8605, or reserve here: order@federalwine.com


Please pass this on to any friends who are wine enthusiasts!


            - Len Rothenberg


(c) Federal Wine and Spirits Inc. 2018