Funchal, Madeira - Portugal, 24 de Abril de 2014 – Blandy’s, synonymous with superior Madeira wines, announces the release of its 1988 Vintage Malmsey. Today at the Big Fortified Tasting, in London, Blandy’s will showcase its latest exclusive vintage Madeira. Malmsey 1988 is the first vintage release since 2009. Only 1,589 bottles have been produced.
The 1988 Malmsey aged in American oak casks for a total of 25 years and started its ageing program in the Sotão de Amendoa (the Almond Attic, on the 4th floor) in Blandy’s lodges in the centre of Funchal, where it remained until 1991. It was then placed on the 2nd floor for 2 years before spending the remaining 20 years on the 1st floor of the lodges. Maturation followed the traditional “canteiro” system, which the Blandy family has practiced for more than 200 years. It is used for only the highest quality Madeiras in which the wine is heated naturally by the sun in the south-facing lofts of the Blandy’s Wine Lodge where temperatures can soar as high as 43oC.
This wine is made from the Malmsey (Malvasia) grape on the island of Madeira, where the Blandy family has long-standing relationships with more than 26 growers. Malmsey, the richest and best known of the four noble grapes of Madeira, is thought to be the original grape grown on the island. The grape has high levels of sugar and acidity, a perfect balance for this style of Madeira. Under European Union Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) regulations, the minimum a vintage Madeira wine must be aged for is 20 years.
Seventh generation Chris Blandy, CEO of Blandy’s Madeira, is very excited about announcing the release of the 1988 Malmsey. “When our Winemaker Francisco Albuquerque presented this wine to our family in the beginning of 2013 we recognized its potential. Our 1988 vintage report indicated that this vintage is regarded as one of the best quality Madeira vintages of the decade. We held the wine back after bottling for a year to round out the prominent acidity. Nearly one year later and the wine has developed in bottle to produce a wine which we believe could become one of the great Madeira Malmseys.”