Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Blandy's Alvada

Blandy's Alvada
Madeira, Portugal

I have a not-so-secret love affair with fortified wine, and Madeira is my favorite (with Tawny Port and Banyuls coming in a close second and third). I love Madeira's nutty, confected notes and acidic zing. Simply wonderful.

As the rules for go, age indicated Madeira is supposed to be made from a single variety. Well, the folks at Blandy's are breaking the rules and breathing new life into Madeira. The Alvada is a 50/50 blend of Malmsey and Bual grapes, creating a new flavor profile. The wine is packaged in 500 mL bottle with bright colors, rather than the traditional 750 mL with conservative labeling. Oh, and one last touch: the Alvada is priced to move (roughly $20), making Madeira accessible than ever.

I tried the Alvada for the first time in 2013 when visiting the island of Madeira. While it is available stateside, I brought this bottle back from Portugal in my checked luggage. Carpe Vinum!

Review: The Alvada is a medium amber color, with pronounced aromas of toasted walnuts and roasted figs. On the palate it is quite sweet, with a bright fresh acidity and full body. This wine is so full of flavor: spicy crystallized ginger, dried dates and apricots, candied orange rind, sweet nutty toffee. It just goes and goes, with a long finish.

Food Pairing: Of course a fruit and cheese plate would be wonderful, but don't fear going savory! I paired mine with a spicy tomato and sausage soup.

Bottom Line: A great (delicious) innovation. I'm delighted with this wine -- and the idea of putting Madeira within reach of more consumers. 


Wine Geekery:
  • PLACE: Madeira
  • GRAPE: 50% Malmsey/Malvasia and 50% Bual 
  • AGEING: 5 years
  • BOOZE: 19.0%
  • CELLAR: Drink now, but will hold for a very very long time
  • www.blandys.com

Where did I get it? At the Blandy's tasting room in Funchal
What's the damage? Mid Priced, for 500 mL

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