– 2022 Bottlings
BY NEAL MARTIN | SEPTEMBER 26, 2022
joined Blandy’s CEO, Chris Blandy, and head winemaker, Francisco Albuquerque,
for a tasting of their 2022 Madeira bottlings. Blandy opined that he sees a big
future for the drier styles, especially Sercial, and that volumes of Verdelho
have doubled in recent years, which allows the house to keep back more stock as
reserves or used as table wine. On the other hand, he stressed that Bual risks
disappearing in the next decade, with just 14 hectares remaining on the west
side of the island. In terms of vinification, Blandy also suggested that
technological advances means that they may alter temperature and humidity for
each grape variety, something not presently possible. We broached these from
youngest to oldest and readers should note that the Cossart Gordon wines are
not sold in the UK.
Blandy’s Colheita Single Harvest Sercial (2022 Bottling) comes from around
20 hectares remaining on the island. It is burnished straw in colour. The nose
is attractive with desiccated orange peel, mandarin and light kerosene aromas.
The palate has a potent tang of marmalade on the entry, modest weight with fine
balance, even though it needs a tad more complexity towards the finish. Still,
I appreciate the nuttiness and oxidative tincture that lingers on the
aftertaste. 2,600 bottles produced. 90/Drink 2023-2036. The 2009 Blandy’s
Colheita Single Harvest Verdelho (2022 Bottling), which contains 70g/L
residual sugar, has a light, grilled hazelnut and quite ume nose, where
I would like to see a little more vigour, though appealing touches of dried
apricot and fig are revealed with time. The palate has a subtle viscous texture
on the entry, crisp acidity with a tangy marmalade. Menthol and Chinese 5-spice
combine effectively on the finish that appears to possess more persistence than
the Sercial. Delicious. 2,600 bottles produced. 92/Drink 2023-2040.
Cossart Gordon Colheita Single Harvest Verdelho (2022 Bottling) contains
62g/L residual sugar. It comes across rather muted on the nose compared to its
Blandy’s counterpart. Light basalt and smoky notes emerge, though it needs more
fruit and might be a bit volatile for some. The palate is much better with satisfying
weight. There are notes of marmalade, apricot, stem ginger and lemongrass, just
a hint of curry powder perking up the finish. I might afford this a year in
bottle to see if the aromatics awaken. 2,000 bottles produced. 89/Drink
2024-2038. According to Chris Blandy, the 2008 Cossart Gordon Single Harvest
Malmsey (2022 Bottling) was vinified like a red wine, fully fermented with
the skins and the pulp. It contains 115g/L residual sugar, which is slightly
lower than other Malmseys. It has an understated bouquet with dried orange
peel, quince and light linseed scents, becoming nuttier with time in the glass
with hints of white tea. The palate is light on its feet for a Malmsey, not as
viscous as other 2022 releases. There is a fine spine of acidity with a spicy
tang together with green olive. Maybe it needs more weight on the back end?
Nevertheless, it feels focused and well balanced, a subtle peach and allspice
note on the aftertaste. Fine. 91/Drink 2023-2045.
Blandy’s Single Harvest Bual (2022 Bottling) comes with 95g/L residual
sugar offset by 6.6g/L total acidity. It is understated on the nose as a Cossart’s
Malmsey, and in that since, I would like more presence aromatically. Likewise,
the palate feels just a bit light for a Bual, balanced yet not really gripping
the mouth, if lingering towards the finish. It is pleasurable, though can’t
help feeling that it could give me more. It does cohere with aeration, though I
am seeking a little more complexity in this Madeira. 2,600 bottles produced. 88/Drink
2023-2036. The 2007 Blandy’s Single Harvest Malmsey (2022 Bottling) has
125g/L residual sugar. Side-by-side, it shows better than the 2008 Bual – more
vigour and presence on the nose with candied orange peel, grilled walnut, smoke
and a touch of sea spray. The palate is very well balanced with fine grip,
viscous in texture yet with counterbalancing acidity to keep it on its toes.
Wonderful purity towards the finish with dried honey, mandarin, Chinese 5-spice
and white pepper. This is an excellent Bual that should age with style. 2,600
bottles produced. 93/Drink 2024-2050.
Cossart Gordon Single Harvest Bual (2022 Bottling), which has 85g/L
residual sugar, has a striking smoke and walnut-scented bouquet, hints of bay
leaf, quince and mandarin, quite cohesive though it needs just a touch more vigour.
The palate is well balanced with satisfying viscosity on the entry, but then it
just takes its foot off the accelerator and feels a tad linear towards the slightly
caramelised finish. There is a nice tingle of spice that lingers on the
aftertaste, so I would probably afford this another couple of years in bottle. 2,000
bottles produced. 91/Drink 2024-2046. The 1978 Blandy’s Terrantez (2022
Bottling) comes from the remaining four hectares of vineyard farmed by 22
growers. It has 90g/L residual sugar with 9g/L total acidity. It has a very
nuanced bouquet with Seville orange preserves, grilled walnut, aniseed and
autumn bonfire – I appreciate the cohesion here, the delineation that manifests
with aeration. The palate is beautifully balanced with tangy marmalade, white
pepper and mandarin, cohesive with ample weight and density. Then the finish
feels elegant and refreshing, the salinity urging you back for another sip.
Superb. 1,206 bottles produced. 94/Drink 2022-2050.
Cossart Gordon Verdelho (2022 Bottling) has 88g/L residual sugar and 10.7g/L
total acidity. It has a subtle nose: dried honey, Seville oranges, quite floral
in nature with green olive scents coming through with time, later a very light
espresso scent. The palate is medium-bodied with a tangy, bitter orange and
marmalade infused opening. Quite powerful, almost “burly” in style, I like the
hubris of this Verdelho and the impact on the resinous finish, a slight hint of
curry powder and saffron lingering on the aftertaste. Excellent. 939 bottles
produced. 93/Drink 2022-2045. The 1972 Blandy’s Bual (2022 Bottling)
has 115g/L residual sugar and 9.2g/L total acidity. It opens nicely over the
course of 20 minutes in the glass, developing mandarin and light resinous
notes, green mango and beeswax. The palate is well balanced with ample weight
and a lovely viscous texture, quite rich for the category. There is just the
right degree of spice here leaving the tongue tingling during and after
imbibement. The finish is quite intense yet focused, not overly powerful, but
seems to linger in the mouth for a minute afterwards. This is just delicious. 1,206
bottles produced. 93/Drink 2022-2052.
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