Federal Wine & Spirits

29 State Street, Boston, MA 02109

Read about the wines in this tasting

Read our notes

Madeira for a Winter's Night

Tasters ran the gamut from madeira newbies to aficionados. Both were pleased by the quality and style of the wines.
January 23, 2019


Preferences ran the gamut also, with all the wines having their fans. However, malmsey won the day as the most purchased, with the most love going to the extraordinary 1999.

People at the tasting learned two things of note:

1. Madeira is already oxidized due to the heating it receives in the cellar, so they last for a very long time after they are opened, months maybe even a year. A little goes a long way, so a bottle can be a good investment without waste.

2. People asked what these wines would be used for; The Sercials are the driest and would certainly work as aperitif. In addition a classic 19th century pairing was madeira with turtle soup. There is not so much of that around these days, but I think that any meat or fowl soup would appreciate a madeira except for the sweetest. Those would go by themselves of with some desserts. Blandy's has a hlpful tanble with suggestions at




Special tasting prices are good through the end of the week.


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.

 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 27.99, Tasting Price 25.99

Blandy's Sercial 10 Year old; Color: very pale tan; Mouth: just off dry very rich, , heady very thick, clean fine acid rather rich, very clean& long; Very Good - Excellent 34, Tasting Price 29.99

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 ; Excellent62, Tasting Price 56

Blandy's 5 Year Verdelho; Aroma: Light clean refreshing lightly herbal; Mouth: Bright rounded sweet fresh very heady lifted fruity; Very Good Plus 27.99, Tasting Price 25.99

Blandy's 5 Year Bual; Color: Light medium clean fresh  Ripe; Mouth: Light & fruity, rounded fresh clean, very plummy chewy light toffee, fine herbal acid finish; Very Good Plus 27.99, Tasting Price 25.99

 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 - Excellent 34, Tasting Price 29.99

1999 Blandy's Malmsey; Color: darker tan; Aroma: very pretty and fine elegant, , dusty ; Mouth: semisweet, rather clean firm, juicy, very nice intensity, elegant, , less heat, firm; Excellent 62, Tasting Price 56


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