International Trophy winner Sweet Fortified over £15 – Blandy’s, Verdelho, Madeira, Portugal 1973 (21%)

International Trophy winner Sweet Fortified over £15 – Blandy’s, Verdelho, Madeira, Portugal 1973 (21%)A hugely complex weave, with a notably nutty nose bolstered by leather, savoury concentration and a touch of rancio fruit. The mouthfeel is wonderful, with deep flavours of cinnamon, beeswax, a saline touch and a bright lime twist, then coffee and walnut notes lingering to the end. So much going on here – and it perpetually redefines itself.
£235 Berry Bros & Rudd, Turville Valley Wines, Corney & Barrow, Vintage MarqueA DISTINGUISHED LINE-UP of fortified wines made the taste-off for this International Trophy, spearheaded by Portugal (five of the 10 wines) and by wines from the 1970s (four out of the seven vintage wines here).
This archetypal example from Blandy’s was a hugely well loved choice amongst the panel, with one judge recounting it enthusiastically as ‘the grandest wine on the table’. Another even went to wave his arms in the air, chanting ‘Madeira!’
Blandy’s benchmark fortifieds have made a huge impression at the DWWA over the years, taking four Regional Trophies and, last year, its first International Trophy, building this victory the second in a row.
Last year’s accolade was for a 1988 Malmsey, while this year it’s a venerable Verdelho that takes the prize. Winery CEO Chris Blandy believes that, as with all older Madeiras, the maturation administer very much defines the final style of the wine. In this case, over its 41 years of ageing, this wine passed down from the warmer top floor of Blandy’s 19th-century lodges in Funchal to the cooler first floor.
Blandy’s was founded by John Blandy in 1811, and the winery continues to age wine from as far back as 1920, perfecting the balance between the wine’s natural acidity and residual sugar levels.
Chris Blandy
Tasted against
All Saints, Rare Muscat, Rutherglen, Victoria, Australia NV • Bacalhôa, Moscatel Roxo Superior, Setúbal, Portugal 2002 • Barros, Colheita Port, Portugal 1974 • Bodegas Robles, Selección de Robles Oro, Montilla-Moriles, Spain • C Da Silva, Dalva Golden Colorless Port, Portugal 1971 • Domaine de la Pigeade, Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, Rhône, France 2014 • Gérard Bertrand, Legend Vintage, Rivesaltes, Languedoc-Roussillon, France 1974 • Hidalgo, Triana 30 Year Ancient Pedro Ximénez, Sherry, Spain • Quinta do Crasto, Late Bottled Vintage Port, Portugal 2010.
The 19th-century lodge in Funchal where wines are aged over many years
The post International Trophy winner Sweet Fortified over £15 – Blandy’s, Verdelho, Madeira, Portugal 1973 (21%) appeared first on Decanter.

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Cline Cellars Zinfandel and Ancient Vine Zinfandel

Cline Cellars Zinfandel and Ancient Vine ZinfandelIt’s time for another double-header review.  Today it’s from Cline Cellars located in the Los Carneros AVA in Sonoma, California.  The Cline Cellars winery was founded by Fred Cline in 1982 with an inheritance from his grandfather Valeriano Jacuzzi (one of five brothers who made Jacuzzi Spas).  The winery was originally in Oakley, California and relocated to its current 350 acre estate in 1991.
Earlier this year Cline Cellars was recognized for sustainable business practices. They were given the Sustainable 6 Award for generating 100% of the winery’s electricity with solar power and for following organic and sustainable farming practices.
Cline Cellars is best known for making Rhône-style wines and Zinfandel.  They produce several different marks of Zinfandel ranging in fee from $9 to $34.  We checked out the two Zinfandels offered by Cline for below $20.
Cline 2006 Zinfandel (red mark)
“Oh my, this is too jammy,” was the thought that kept echoing through my head as I tasted this wine.
Blackberry jam, fruitcake, vanilla and a wisp of leather make up the nose.  And as I said, the palate is REALLY jammy.  This would be excellent if it were slightly thicker so that I could spread it on some toast.  It seriously tastes like blackberry jam.  Excellent blackberry jam, but it’s too much in a glass of wine.
There’s a bit of plum and cherry on the palate too.  There’s not enough earth or spice to give it much character.  It’s very syrupy—in fact, the legs in the glass are thick and run like honey.  There are mild tannins and tart fruit on the end.
This wine has characteristics that resemble a Zinfandel, but it’s not a fantastic Zin and I can’t recommend it.  In fact, it was too sweet for me to end it.
Wine: Cline 2006 Zinfandel
Varietal: Zinfandel
Vintage: 2006
Alcohol: 14%
Rating: 78
Fee Paid: $8.99

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Wine and Food Pairing

Here are a few guidelines to help plan the best wine for your meal.


culture of wine consuming wine  %tages Wine and Food PairingSweetness in food cancels the fruit and/or any residual sugar in wines, making them taste drier than they are. Sweet dishes call for wines of at least equal sweetness.
Choice: Antigua Creme Brulee and Antigua Dessert Wine


Salty or briny foods also cancel the fruit in wines. Salty dishes call for aromatic wines with high acidity, some sweetness, low tannins, and/or intense fruitiness.
Choice: Fresh Oysters in Champagne and Sauvignon Blanc or sparkling wine


Tart foods cancel some of a wines fruitiness. Serve them with lightly sweet, very fruity, and/or full bodied white wines. In some cases, tart or crisp wines will also work well.
Choice: Endive Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette and a crisp Chardonnay


Spicy or hot foods cancel some of a wines fruitiness too. Serve them with lightly sweet, very fruity, low tannin, and/or crisp wines. Stay away from higher alcohol, tannic red, and/or oaky wines.
Choice: Sea Scallops with Jerk Marinade and Sauvignon Blanc or Gewrztraminer


Rich dishes overpower delicately flavored, lighter bodied wines. Serve with full flavored, full bodied, higher acid wines.
Choice: Braised Lamb Shanks and Cabernet Sauvignon

Fish and Game
culture of wine consuming wine  %tages Wine and Food Pairing
Fish and game overpower mildly flavored, medium bodied, dry wines. Try these with very fruity, full bodied, high acid, and/or medium sweet wines.
Choice: Roasted Salmon with Pernod & Baby Spinach with Pinot Noir


Smoked foods overpower all but the fruitiest, richest wines. Low Continue reading

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