Next we went to Blandy’s Wine Center where we used our bus tickets for a free tasting. We started with a medium dry Madeira......5 years old which was very pleasant and not too sweet. After booking tickets for the tour we sat in the Jardim Sao Francisco Park just across a narrow road until 2 .00pm when the tour started.
The tour was extremely interesting and informative. The wines are labelled by age and if white by the grape variety… but all red grapes are the same Tinto Nero. If it was a good year it will be marked with a letter.
The company have their own coopers who make all their barrels from either American oak or a Brazilian tree....not for flavour, but storage, and these vats are huge. They won’t produce more port because they have no room and being an old building, can’t risk collapsed floors.
The grapes come from a variety of growers around the island.
We went through the underground barrel rooms which were lovely and cool, requiring an even temperature for the wines. Then through the Wine Museum which had a great display of the different wine making equipment used through the years.
How the Port Vintage is Struck
The wines - both white and red – all come in dry, medium dry, medium sweet and sweet range.
Many are kept in barrels for 20 or more years. The oldest is 120 years old!
We sat in the lovely tasting room with paintings telling the wine making story in panels around the walls and enjoyed two tastings as part of the tour....a medium dry 5 year wine, and a 10 year sweet wine which was very smooth!
Take a Photo Tour of Blandy's
Dinner was up the road where we had delicious fish skewers with prawns, bass and hmmm another fish along with veges. We finished with shared chocolate and berry cake, coffee and a Madeira wine on the house. All outside in a lovely little courtyard with a wall covered in potted petunias. It was another excellent meal to cap off a good day.