Exceptional Vintage Madeira, from 1977 back to 1916.
This is a one bottle tasting, limited to 25 people.
When I look back at my last Madeira tasting, in 2012, I am surprised to see that I had no Cossart Gordons, probably my favourite Madeira producer. So this one will redress that balance, with five Cossarts! Two each of the four principal noble grape varieties: Sercial, Verdelho, Bual and Malmsey. In vigorous middle age, from the 1960's and 1970's, to early maturity at anywhere between 62 and 98 years old. These are outstanding wines.
It is worth remembering just how rare they are, with fine vintage Madeiras being produced, in most cases, in quantities of just a few hundred bottles. Even today Madeira has less than 500 hectares of vines for appellation wine, and a bare quarter of that, around 125 hectares, is given over to these four noble varieties. Chateau Lafite alone has 112 hectares of vines.
When people ask me which is my 'favourite' wine, I have an unhesitating response to what is otherwise a fairly ridiculous question: fine vintage Madeira, Bual or Malmsey ... getting on for a century or more in age. We will have one of each. Even the least of these is superb, the best are exquisite, with an intensity of taste, a transparency and complexity of flavour, and a persistence of perfume which few other wines can match. If you don't know them ......
1966 Sercial (Blandy)
1940 Sercial (Cossart Gordon)
1968 Verdelho (Blandy)
1952 Jubilee Verdelho (Leacock)
1969 Bual (Cossart Gordon)
1920 Bual (Cossart Gordon)
1977 Malmsey (Cossart Gordon)
1916 Malmsey (Cossart Gordon)
8 Wines, plus Monika's Madeira Cake. £189