Wednesday, November 12, 2008

WBW #51: Madeirized

This month Joe over at 1WineDude is hosting Wine Blogging Wednesday, the monthly event where wine bloggers write on a theme chosen by the host. This month's theme is cooked wine (not the bad kind). Madeira is unique in that it is exposed to heat during the wine-making process as well as being fortified. The fortification stops the fermentation process, and raises the alcohol level making it perfect for those bothersome long sea voyages aboard a man-of-war. Oh... Perfect because it resists spoilage, of course. It was one of the favorite imports of Great Britain and her colonies in the 18th century. In fact, Madeira actually owes its style to its sea-faring past: Vinho da roda was Madeira that had made the roundtrip on a sea voyage and its transformed flavors were preferred to the stuff straight off the island. So, producers developed methods to imitate on land, the jostling and heating effect of a voyage at sea.

By the way, I had the pleasure of meeting the Wine Dude, along with Mrs. Dude and the little dudette (such a chill baby) at the Wine Bloggers Conference in October. Joe is one cool cat, so check out his blog if you haven't (which you probably have because it's notorious).

Anyway, back to the Madeira. We tried the Blandy's Verdelho Reserve. According to wikipedia, Verdelho is characterized by smokey notes and high acidity. Reserve just means it was aged for a minimum of five years and the classification is 'bottom of the barrel', so to speak. The classifications go up from there. The name pretty much says it all for the Blandy's Verdelho: Blandy. Rhymes with brandy. It has a brandy-like nutty aroma nose, and the flavor? Bland. Sorry, I guess that is to be somewhat expected with Verdelho which is a milder style but, this pretty much tasted like fancy juice-box. I didn't find it smokey and the acidity was about the equivalent of apple raspberry Juicy Juice. A little harsh maybe but, I guess I'm still a little pissed that I spent thirty bucks on this grog. Unfortunately, it was either this or a $40 bottle of Blandy's.

I could see using this Madeira for canning cherries or marinating fruit, or pouring over a fruit cake or something. At $2.31 a gallon, I could also see filling my gas tank with thirty dollars, but hey, what's done is done.

Thanks again to 1WineDude for hosting this month's theme. I'm sorry I couldn't pick a winner Joe, but I hope you are enjoying yours.


Taster B said...

I'm posting mmWine's WBW #51 link here because he tasted the same Madeira and did some good food pairings that seem to make all the difference. Check it out!

Joe Roberts said...

Bummer! I should have warned everyone that the good stuff is NOT cheap ;-)

Taster B said...

I didn't go for the cheapest stuff but, by the same token, I didn't want to buy the most expensive bottle without having sampled it. No biggie. Dr. Debs had a $100 bottle! But, as she points out, a bottle lasts a long time!

Matt mmWine Horbund said...

I am SO sorry your experience wasn't a pleasant one. It seems that while we both had Blandy's 5 year old Madeira, the Verdelho was different than the Malmsey.

I am also intrigued because the Malmsey I purchased was $20s while the Verdelho you had was $40s. Proof that price doesnt equate to quality? Or, do I enjoy the sweet tastes so much that I'm blinded to what the quality is.

the only way I can be sure, frankly, is to scare up a bottle of the Verdelho and compare the two. It's all in the name of research, of course!

Anonymous said...

oooh, harsh! Juicy Juice!! haha becky that made me LOL, eventhough I am reading it at 4am east coast time.

Try the Bual 5 year from Blandys. $23, and worth it.

See ya

Taster B said...

I was brash. I must have been in a bad mood or something.