MW Trip to Madeira
Pereira de Oliveira by Arne Ronold MW
Lunch in Zona Velha by Rod Smith MW
Barbeito by Sarah Jane Evans MW
HMBorges by Sheri Morano MW
Welcome dinner at IVBAM by Mark de Vere MW
Henriques e Henriques by Charles Curtis MW
Lunch H& H by Justin Howard-Sneyd MW
Justino’s by Anthony Barne MW
Dinner at Montanha (traditional espetada) by Neil Tully MW
MWC/Blandy’s by DC Flynt MW
Visit to the Vineyards by Stephen Skelton MW
Dinner at Choupana Hills by Jean- Michel Valette MW
Pereira de Oliveira - Arne Ronold MW
The first visit on our trip – on Thursday morning – went to Pereira d’Oliveira, with headquarters in a beautiful building dating back to 1619 in a central part of Funchal. The company was founded in 1850 by João Pereira d’Oliveira and has over the years acquired 6 other Madeira producers, all previously run by island families, most recently Adegas do Torreão in 2002 and Artur de Barros e Sousa in 2013. Today Pereira d’Oliveira is run by the fifth generation Pereira, Aníbal and Luís, together with Aníbal’s son Filipe, who joined the company as winemaker in 1987. The winery is now located in a building next to the Madeira Wine Company in central Funchal, previously owned by Adegas do Torreão. Pereira d’Oliveira did not export much wine until the 1980s, and – as a result – they have
accumulated a considerable stock of rare old wines, built up over the years from the company’s own wines and those of the companies it has purchased. On our visit the oldest wine available for sale was a Verdelho 1850!
Grapes are purchased from around 100 small growers each year, and the present production is about 150 000 litres per year. This includes a range of 3, 5, 10 and 15 years old wines made from Tinta Negra Mole and 15 years old and older wines made from Sercial, Verdelho, Boal, Malvasia and Terrantez, although Terrantez has been scarce since 1995. Older vintages also include some Bastardo. Wines up to 10 years old are made by the Estufagem method, whereas wines of 15 years old and older are made by the Canteiro process.
Our group was greeted by Luís d’Oliveira, who is in charge of sales and marketing, and we were seated to a magnificent and rare tasting of 19 wines dating back to 1875. The first group of dry wines (Seco) included an elegant Sercial 1989 and a Sercial 1928 with real grip. Then a medium dry (Meio Seco) flight followed, with my favourites being the elegant Terrantez 1971, the liquorice flavoured Bastardo 1927 and the very concentrated Verdelho 1905. Here Luís d’Oliveira made a comment about their Terrantez always being made in a medium dry style, similar to Verdelho.
The third flight of medium sweet (Meio Doce) wines comprised a 15 Year Old wine and 4 Boals, with the enormously concentrated Boal 1908 being my pick, even if Boal 1958 and Boal 1922 were not far behind in quality. And then a final round with sweet wines followed, with Malvazia 1907 standing out, even if it also was a privilege to taste the Malvazia 1875!
Old Vintage Madeira is one of my favourite wines, and to be able to taste such a brilliant range at the premises of Perreira d’Oliveira was a real treat. Thank you!
Lunch in Zona Velha at Restaurant Do Forte - Rod Smith MW
This lovely restaurant is situated in part of the old fort of Funchal, and we all walked there after our first and extraordinary tasting at Pereira d'Oliveira.
4We were made very welcome by Paula Cabaço, the Director of the Institute of Embroidery and Wine (Cultural Institute of Madeira), who – with her colleagues – was to be out host and guide throughout the trip. The Institute was founded in 1977, took over from existing Junta. Also responsible for Rum from local cane sugar. Paula also introduced us to some table wines from the island, a first I think for most of us. The pair at lunch today were from Barbusano (White: Verdelho, Red: Aragonez, Touriga Nacional, Merlot)
Light wine programme has been developed relatively recently, in addition to the local Madeira varieties and some from the mainland, Arnsberger also planted (a Riesling x Riesling cross). Of Madeira’s total 500ha of vineyard, some 5% is now used for light wine (200 tonnes)
Barbusano Verdelho 2012
Mid pale lemon colour. Citrussy-fresh aroma with plenty of fruit and floral hints. Quite vibrant and inviting. Good acidity. Fresh. Rather well made. **
Barbusano Aragonez, Touriga Nacional, Merlot 2010
Inky purple colour, deeply violet aromatics. Clean, fresh inviting aroma. Spicy, some jamminess, rich. Reasonably well balanced. **.5
After some appetisers of bacalao and other delicious bits (pretty much all of which were consumed with the kind of zesty appetite that only consuming a lot of Madeira for several hours can engender.)
Peito de frango Marinado em manteiga de alho e ervas, legumes salteados e arroz de tomate
(Chicken Breast with butter and garlic sauce, sautéed vegetables and tomato rice.) Or
Paupiette de Espada com molho meunier
(Scabbard Paupiette with Meunier Sauce)
I think most people went for the fish, because it is local and a speciality. Scabbard fish, a little like seabass to taste I found. Delicious.
Carpaccio de Ananáa com gelado de coco
(Pineapple Carpaccio with Coconut Ice Cream)
A solid Piña Colada! Great! Super refreshing and just what was required.
A delightful meal which set the scene for the rest of the trip, and an afternoon at Barbeito marvellously. Muito obrigado!
Barbeito- Sarah Jane Evans MW
Host: Ricardo Vasconcelos Freitas, MD since 1990, grandson of the founder. An excellent host, full of information and charm.
The winery and main offices are up a vertiginous slope, at 670m. Contrary to the image of Madeira wines being baked in the sun, Ricardo Freitas looks for cold temperatures. ‘In September it can go down to -5C; I like to work with nature, I don’t control the temperature of fermentation except by the weather.’
Freitas joined the business in 1989. In 1991 it became a joint venture with Kinoshita, the
importer/distributor of Wines & spirits in Japan. He now has 3 ageing warehouses, in different parts of the island for different climatic influences. He buys grapes from around 135 farmers.
He has a mechanical lagar, the only one on the island, he says. He has only used it since 2007 so cannot yet tell the long-term significance in terms of quality. Freitas says he likes to experiment, and ‘I am always looking to reintroduce old techniques, though working in small quantities. If I make a mistake with 1000 litres then I can always blend it in to a 3 y/o’. He is a strong defender of the 3 y/o: ‘I know people only use it for cooking. My goal is to get them to drink it.’
His carefully designed warehouse shows his attention to natural influences. The ceiling is zinc which heats up in the sun. The tall windows are narrow, to slow cooling, retaining acidity and slowing development of sugars. The temperature difference across the 4 stacked rows of barrels is 5 degC. So over time wines are moved from upper to lower and corner to middle. ‘I try to guide my wines and not interfere.’
He doesn’t top the barrels: ‘topping changes the wine’. Freitas is looking for acidity. He says he dislikes overly sweet wines: ‘My Malvasias are the driest of all’.
6As the wines age they will eventually be moved to smaller 300 or 100l casks. And finally demijohns, ‘a very important tool for our work. My mother has an underground treasure of old wines in demijohns.’ Talking of rare treasures, Freitas has 300l of Bastardo. It comes from one vineyard and he has been making it since 2007. He hasn’t bottled any yet, but could come in the future.
Rare Wine Co (USA) Baltimore Rainwater Special Reserve 61.3g/l RS 18%ABV
Rainwater is a name of Madeira wine romance. Undoubtedly the wines used to arrive in the USA pale in colour and not strongly oxidised. The name rainwater referred to this colour. Part of a project for the Rare Wine CO.
Aromas of almonds, white flowers, smoky leather.
Brilliantly vibrant in the mouth, light bodied, but with a bold linear freshness surrounded by notes of marmalade and cocoa.
Sercial Reserva Velha 10 yr old 54.5g/l RS 19%ABV
A blend of 50% Sercial vinified dry, and 50% Medium Dry.
Gloriously buttery caramel nose. Palate shows nervy acidity, following through to a spicy, peppery character with bitter orange, dried herbs, coriander.
Rare Wine Co (USA) Thomas Jefferson Medium Dry 74.5g/l RS 19%ABV
Blend of Verdelho, Bual, Malvasia and Tinta Negra. Includes 60 y/o TNM, ‘drops’ of 80y/o Malvasia. In honour of a great drinker of Madeira.
Smoky, nutty , rich caramel aromas. Dry, with bright lime acidity, coated with a silky richness. Savoury, almost salty aspect, finish of roasted coffee.
Verdelho 1992 Frasqueira 73.6 g/l RS 19% ABV
1992 was Freitas’ first vintage. ‘My first job was weighing the grapes – and that way I started to get to know the growers.‘
Floral, spiced caramelised kumquats on the nose. In the mouth tense, tight acidity, with notes of dark cacao.
Bual Frasqueira 1992
92.1g/l (‘the limit for Medium sweet’) RS 19%ABV ‘We don’t make them like this now’
Roasted, reduced aromas. Palate shows brisk acidity, with roasted butterscotch, finishing with notes of bitter caramel. A very much more powerful wine, with notes of dark muscovado sugar. Very persistent finish.
7Malvasia 20 y/o Lot 14050
98.6g/l RS 20% ABV
The most recent blend of 20 y/o.
Butterscotch and fine herbs on the nose. Brilliant acidity in the mouth (8.04 TA), golden peach fruit, vivid piquant freshness, rich, warm finish.
Mãe Manuela Malvasia 40y/o 99.6g/l RS 20%ABV
Made in honour of Freitas’ mother Manuela Vasconcelos, who started working with her father in the business in the 1970s. A blend including some private collection wines.
Copper coloured with red highlights.
Fine herb and caramel aromas. Initially a vivid racy acidity, then a creamy, nutty caramel richness develops, as of rice pudding and nutmeg. Then burnished red plums with a long clean, brisk finish. Malvasia 1875 Frasqueira
Freitas’ grandfather originally bought full casks, which form the basis of the library collection. The oldest wine in the collection is 1850 Verdelho.
Pungent aromas of tar, iodine.
Equally pungent palate: tongue-tingling, tight, with a firm grip, a powerful intense style. Brilliantly fresh for one so old.
HM Borges- Sheri Morano MW
The group enjoyed a fascinating visit to H.M. Borges, which was originally established in 1877. Today, the winery is currently being run by the 4th generation of the family. The current owners, along with 2
of their employees, spoke a bit about the history of the island and the winery and gave the group a short tour through the facility. There were numerous highlights, including seeing a fantastic thank you note the winery received from Winston Churchill.
One of the best parts of the group’s visit to Borges was all of the historical information that was discussed. We learned about Madeira’s history of sugar cane production, which was believed to have been introduced from Sicily. In the 15th century, Madeira was the largest producer of sugar cane!
Many believe that part of the reason the practice of fortifying the wines came about stemmed from the tradition of visiting sailors who liked to add sugar cane spirit to their wines to “make them more drinkable.” The Borges also spoke of how Madeira was initially part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza, who was married to Charles II of England. However, according to our hosts, Catherine’s fondness for tea lead to the popularization of that beverage in England and eventually to Charles’ swapping Madeira for access to India. There were many in our group who were rather dismayed to realize that had it not been for Charles II, afternoon tea would have actually featured a glass of Madeira instead of a cup of Earl Grey.
83 yr old dry style Tinta Negra – light color with a moderate intensity and a spirity character on the finish. More of a restrained style.
10 yr old Sercial – Fairly pale color with notes of spiced oranges, nuts and herbs. Racy acidity on the finish with a delicate character.
20 yr old med dry Verdelho – Notes of salted nuts, orange marmalade and a smoky, tea leaf character dominate the nose. Racy acidity with a savory flavor on the fairly concentrated finish.
15 yr old Bual – A touch of an earthy character on the noes with hints of marzipan, coffee, spice and orange marmalade. More sweetness, but with a butterscotch and lime character that leads to the impression of a lighter finish than the previous wine.
15 yr old Malmsey – Still a bit tight on the nose with notes of roasted caramelized peaches, crème brulee and grilled pineapple. A mixture of sweet and savory with vibrant acidity on the finish. Sweeter, but with freshness and a tangy character on the finish that lingers.
40 year old Malmsey – a special bottling done in 2008 for the 500th anniversary of Funchal. Smokey
and concentrated with a spirity note on the nose and hints of burnt sugar, coffee, fruit cake and spice. Very intense and concentrated with a rich and viscous finish. A lovely way to end the tasting!
Welcome dinner at IVBAM- Mark de Vere MW
An excellent and diverse opening day was brought to a gracious close with a wonderful dinner at the Instituto do Vinho do Bordado e do Artesanato da Madeira, (IVBAM), the Institute for the wine, embroidery and handicrafts of Madeira. While handicrafts and embroidery were proudly on display inside, as we walked down the red carpet towards the entrance, a large red banner draped on the wall of the historic building reassured us that we were here for the Vinho Madeira.
We were greeted with a glass of D’Oliveira’s medium dry 5 year old, that accompanied the delicious passed hors d’oeuvres; a charming a delicious aperitif, that set the mood for the evening, and reminded us to drink more Madeira before dinner. The reception gave us the chance to mingle and meet representatives from each of the shippers, and from IVBAM, who had kindly come to help facilitate our learning this evening. We were very grateful to be joined by Humberto Jardim, Rita Galvão, Chris Blandy, Dina Luis, Isabel Figueiroa, Juan Teixeira, Noélia Palma, Isabel Borges, Helena Borges, Luis Faria and Paulo Mendes. Also, a special mention and thanks might be made to Rubina Vieira from IVBAM, who had kindly prepared the overview and introduction to Madeira that was intended to start our trip, as appeared on the original itinerary; although time constraints had unfortunately squeezed her lecture off the agenda, those of us seated at her table learnt invaluable details; we are appreciative of the time she spent preparing for us.
The curiosity of a few MWs might have led them to look around a corner and see an interesting ‘trial’; a cask of 2000 Malvasia that had been sailed around the world, next to a ‘control’ cask that had remained in the IVBAM cellar. We did not get to taste from either of the two small casks, both protected with the institute’s seal, however it was fun to see the visible difference between the casks: the unmoved cask looked normal, whereas the cask that made the viagem de circum-navegação in 2010 had the faded grey patina of an ocean-going mariner.
Five large round tables of seven, each named after one of the island’s major grape varieties, were set in front of large concrete vats, atop of which sat a row of canteiro-style casks. Our hostess Paula Cabaço, Presidente do Conselho Diretivo, warmly welcomed us to dinner on behalf of the Institute and its members; we were graciously thanked for coming to learn more about the wines of this island.
9We were honoured with two Entradas, starters. First came a beautiful plate with three goat cheese puff pastries, topped with walnuts and sitting on a drizzled balsamic vinaigrette with raspberries and blueberries, on top of which were strewn a very light salad of green herbs and a pink fuchsia flower; finely sliced ham was curled in the corner of the presentation [for the linguists: Mil-folhas de presunto com queijo de Cabra e Salada com Balsâmico de Framboesas]. The second starter was a puréed cream soup of yellow pumpkin with a swirl of local cane sugar syrup coiled in its centre [Crème de Abóbora Amarela com Mel de Cana].
With these starters we were introduced to the first of two rare treats of the evening, wines made by the Institute from their own experimental vines and vinified for research purposes. While these wines were of exceptional quality, they are never made available commercially, due to a feeling that this would be an act of competition with the wineries on the island. We were fortunate enough to be the recipients of their educational and promotional use.
The first wine was a very fine Terrantez 20 Anos, a ‘twenty year’ old Terrantez, bottled in January 2008: the front label had the traditional stenciled details from I.V.B.A.M. and the back had a useful paper back label, reminding us that the wine can form a deposit, and that we should ‘serve with special care to avoid turbidity’. This wine had been perfectly decanted earlier in the day. With a medium pale browning hue, a very delicate but intense nose and an elegant and long palate, it was a delightful Terrantez. Its 85 g/Ltr of residual sugar and 32 g/Ltr of dry extract were a beautiful balance to its searing 9.2 g/ltr T.A. and adequately concealed the 1.2 g/Ltr of V.A.
For the main course we were treated to local line-caught tuna mignons on crushed sweet potatoes [Mignon de atum em esmagada de batata doce]. With this we were reminded that IVBAM go beyond Madeira, and also represent the table wines of the island. First we enjoyed a fresh and textured white DOP Madeirense, the Terras do Avô Grande Escholha Branco 2012, largely from the Seixal region on the north coast. This, we subsequently learned, was one of the dry white wines made from Verdelho that now compete with the noble fortified wines for the prized white grapes of Madeira. Second we had a red DOP Madeirense, the Primeira Paixão 2012. This was labeled Merlot, but also contains between 5% and 10% Touriga Nacional, and is made by one of the three producers in the Caniçal district, a very dry area of reclaimed land in the far south east tip of the island.
To finish we had passion fruit crème brulée with a chocolate biscuit and pistachio sauce [Crème Brulée de maracujá com biscuit de chocolat e molho de pistachio].
The real star of the dessert course, however, was the wine. This was a Boal from the great 1954
vintage, also from the Institute’s cellars, bottled in the late 1980s, in the days when it was simply IVM. This wine had been decanted the day before, and was shining; powerful yet balanced, and with a lovely nutty citrusy extraction, and a very long compelling finish. (A note for anyone who kept the menu and only saw the decanter during service, the menu erroneously suggested this was a 1922 Bual, the bottles were all clearly stenciled Boal 1954.)
IVBAM’s generous hospitality was a wonderful way to close our first day of the trip, and the conversation of our hosts greatly expanded our understanding of the wines from the island of Madeira.
Henriques e Henriques- Charles Curtis MW
Warmly welcomed by Humberto Jardim, the Managing Director and CEO of Henriques & Henriques, the assembled group enjoyed both an instructive discussion of the operation of the present-day market for madeira as well as a delightful tasting. We were treated to a comprehensive visit to the facilities at the new premises at Câmara de Lobos. This includes a temperature-controlled reception area that profits from gravity feed after the destemming operation and a total of 200,000 litres capacity, with enough tank space to vinify 100,000 litres per day. Estufa for the entry-level winesis
10done in jacketed stainless steel tanks with remontage to equalize the temperature. One of the
problems of old-fashioned heating coils inside the tanks was that in order to heat the wine to 45° the temperature inside the coils had to be at 80°. This would lead to excessive caramelisation of the sugars in the vicinity of the coils leading to bitter notes, while the use of jacketed tanks allows one to avoid this.
One of the intriguing aspects of our visit was a fascinating look at the Henriques and Henriques barrel seasoning program. One of the Henriques and Henriques sidelines is importing Kentucky ex-bourbon casks to prepare them for Scotch production. Here barrels are seasoned with wine made from the Tinta Negra Mole (TNM) grape to be sold on to distilleries such as Jameson, Glenfiddich and
Bushmills. Once the barrels have been seasoned, the wine is sold in bulk as a food ingredient with salt and pepper added. The export of Madeira wine in bulk is now forbidden by the regulations of the island since bulk wine exports were competing with sales of the 3 year old madeira for market share. The difficult nature of the madeira market was crystallised in the comment of Sr. Jardim that “Selling Madeira is like bringing sand uphill with a fork.” Our tasting included the following wines:
3-year-old “Monte Seco” Extra Seco
We began our tasting with the Monte Seco aperitif madeira, made in a vermouth-like style and vinified dry (25 g/l RS). The wine is produced from first press TNM juice aged three years. It was first
produced in 1937. Minerally and crisp, the wine is done in a special style seldom found elsewhere. 3-year-old “Full Rich” Doce
We continued with the three year old Full Rich, with 112 g/l RS, the wine that generates the profit for the firm. It is an all-purpose madeira, relatively neutral on the nose with hints of roast nuts and sweet caramel. In fact, the wine is colored with caramel as many are in response to demands of certain markets and buyers who are creating their own brand, according to Sr. Jardim.
Next we were able to taste a couple of blending components. The first was a sample of TNM just fortified. It had been fermented almost dry and fortified to 19° and was waiting to go into estufa . The wine was ruby red in color, and showed a berry fruit that had not yet developed the characteristic madeira tanginess. At present it showed its alcohol fairly prominently as one would expect. The total acidity was 6.2 g/l. The second was the “sordo”, a vin muté, which had been fermented to 5° and then stopped by the addition of one quarter volume of alcohol. Light pink in color, the resulting wine had 129 g/l RS.
Produced from TNM, the resulting wine is 92 - 93 g/l RS. It shows a nutty caramel aroma on the nose and a character on the palate that is at once sweet and crisp. As with all Colheita wine, it is aged in cantiero for a minimum of 5 years for, although 8 – 10 is more usual.
Similar to above except for vintage, the 1997 Colheita was aged in sherry cask. On the nose it shows a bit more molasses and an edge of toastiness. On the palate the wine is pleasantly rich, and although the overall character is somewhat neutral, the wine is well balanced and elegant.
The 1995 vintage Colheita is produced in the same fashion, although the vintage year this time provided a wine with a distinct tropical character that was fatter and suppler on the palate with an almost chewy texture.
The 15-year-old Sercial shows a balanced acidity and a pleasantly silky texture on the palate – not as vibrantly racy as some examples, the lighter body makes the wine fairly elegant. A typical bottling is approximately 9 g/l acidity and 55 g/l RS.
The ’71 Sercial shows a nose of roast hazelnut and lemon peel along with a leafy herbal notes and a suggestion of ginger. On the palate there is a slight bitter note originating with fact that the stems are pressed with the fruit during fermentation.
11The 15-year-old Verdelho began with a rather neutral nose that opened up to show a hint of orange peel and hazelnut. On the palate there was balanced sweetness, a similar suggestion of bitterness and moderate length.
The 20-year-old Verdelho showed a bit more aromatic character on the nose, with dried apricot fruit and hints of smoke, caramel and sweet rich toffee. On the palate the wine was very fresh with good length.
1898 Verdelho Solera
An 1898 Solera Verdelho showed a fairly light color and an aroma that combined roast walnut, sawdust and orange peel along with a hint of volatility. On the palate, balanced acidity and sweetness and a lingering finish
A 2000 vintage Boal showed notes of molasses and brown sugar on the nose. On the palate the wine was rich and yet still retained remarkable balance. 92 g/l RS
A 15-year-old Boal showed figs caramel toffee and smoke on the nose and on the palate a sense of minerality and firmness, with a deft sugar balance.
A 1957 Boal showed rich notes of toffee, caramel, coffee and nuts on the nose. On the palate the wine showed a firm quality with a hint of bitterness and an almost metallic finish.
The nose of the 15-year-old Malmsey showed aromas of raisins, figs and prunes – almost recalling Pedro Ximénez – along with a hint of tar and an almost saline note. The wine has 115 g/l of RS and 6 g/l of acidity.
A 20-year-old Malmsey shows the classic green ring at the edge of the glass and a darker fruit character on the nose with more of the tangy oxidative notes. On the palate the wine is sweet and luscious yet still balanced.
As we taste the 1954 Malmsey we are reminded of the local saying about the Malvazia grape: “Don’t eat them, don’t give them away, for wine God made them.” The wine is beginning to show a bit of rancio character, with earthy notes, exotic spices, molasses and brown sugar, backed up with a tangy fresh acidity that helps the wine retain balance; on the palate the wine is elegant yet so thick it is almost viscous. Delicious wine.
A blend of 5 vintages aged 20 years, the wine shows an exotic nose with notes of lemon and orange peel, a slightly herbal note, and anise-like spices. On the palate the wine is crisp in spite of more than 74 g/l sugar and the lingering finish is very pleasant.
A ’54 Terrantez was powerfully aromatic with notes of sweet caramel and exotic Asian spices on the nose. On the palate the wine was tangy and concentrated, with an elegant balance and a marvelous finish.
1900 Terrantez Solera
A 1900 Terrantez solera was a bit muted on the nose and showed its maturity, with a waxy, almost dusty note, and a bouquet of dried fruit, dried flowers and truffles. On the palate the wine was supple and gracious, with no hard edges and no hint of excess: balance and elegance were the watchwords of this style through the subtle finish.
Lunch H& H- Justin Howard-Sneyd MW
After an excellent tasting of H&H wines, we spilled out into the mist-shrouded hills surrounding the winery, where a gentle drizzle has set in, and not wishing to linger long, we were ushered in to a small outbuilding where a table had been laid for lunch.
The H&H team had been busy preparing a home-made feast for us, and wafts of stuffed cabbage, garden vegetables, and a hearty Portuguese stew full of pork and bread sausage billowed up from the dishes laid out on the side.
No Madeira for lunch here – after such an excellent tasting we didn’t really need any, but a Douro red and white called Dalva dutifully washed down the grub.
An hour, and a couple of home-made fruit pies or so later, we trickled out of the door to find that it had stopped raining, and sunshine looked on the cards for the afternoon.
Justino’s - Anthony Barne MW
If lunch in the vintage kitchen of Henriques & Henriques, set high up in a cleft in the mountains, was a taste of the old Madeira, then the industrial-style installation that has housed Justino’s since 1994, and has allowed them to double their production, is a taste of the present. Justino’s, taking in grapes from over 800 growers, accounts for 40% by volume of the market and is probably the only producer large enough to justify a site on this scale. Owned, like Henriques & Henriques, by the rum company La Martinquaise, they have the investment to allow them an impressive wall of Seguin Moreau hogsheads maintained by their own coopers. Even this array of barrels, purchased second-hand from Cognac houses, only represents a small part of the maturation capacity, the remainder being in stainless steel and in wood ranging from 650-10,000 litres. This allows for 1.7 million hectolitres in wood and 5.7 million in tank.
Madeiras in wood are aged in canteiros, the overground cellars designed to be heated by the sun. These generally rely on natural heat penetrating the roof but Justino’s have a system of solar panels which, together with insulation, allow for a more constant temperature, the target being 27-28 degrees. This gives a more even ageing process and a better retention of acidity. Although the production of cheaper wines is, currently, a very large part of Justino’s business, they place great importance on the canteiro process as it is through this that they will be able to trade up and market wines of higher value, just as the port producers have successfully done.
In support of an established trend which has seen the proportion of the basic 3 Year Old Wine in their exports to the United States reduce from 80% to 70% over the last 3 years, they lay claim to the largest
canteiro stocks of any Madeira producer. The emphasis on this stock is being changed from a holding of old Fresqueiras (vintages) to a more commercial rotation of younger wines to sell in the 5-10 Year
13Old and Colheita (wines of indicated vintage year) categories. The intention is that 15-20% of the wines that they are exporting in 10 years time will have been aged in wood.
Júlio Fernandes the Commercial Director, then talked more about the direction of the market for these higher grade wines, with Europe, Brazil and Japan being targeted. He pointed out that the total production of Madeira amounts to 4 million litres per year, compared with 120 million litres of port, so a different marketing strategy is required, focussing on individual contacts. At present France is the main market, taking the younger wines, but there has been a significant decline in bulk shipments since 2001 and less is now destined for sauces. Even so, a shift to 10 Year Old is not seen as a prospect for the near future. The French market is relatively stable, unlike Russia and Scandanavia which are growing fast. The Ukraine also got a mention as an area of fast developing sales, maybe that market is now experiencing a certain amount of disruption.
It was at this point in the talk, as a we were tasting our wines and listening attentively to Júlio, and to Dina Luis, the recently appointed wine-maker, that the visit moved from being interesting to being unforgettable
The Institute places a professional obligation on its members to eat and drink in style, perhaps even copiously, in order to set a good example to others. The very generous hospitality extended to us in Madeira found us at the top of our form and the plastic chairs hired especially to seat us all were simply not prepared for the onslaught. In one way it was fortunate that 23 of us were shoe-horned into an office designed to house 6 people because the wedging effect helped to cushion the landings. But the domino effect, so much dreaded by Senator Mac Carthy in South East Asia, also took its toll. I believe it was Dr Johnson who wrote that an impending execution ’concentrates the mind
wonderfully’ and we sat, still as mice, our minds focussed like lasers. The tasting notes from this visit are probably the most accurate of the trip, although once the ominous crack came from below, it was hard not to think about whether you could afford to swirl the wine in the fashion honed to perfection over many years of study for the Tasting Paper. Our newest MW, Demetri Walters, clearly lacked the experience to swirl without moving any other part of his anatomy and quickly disappeared from view, joining Charles Curtis and Joel Butler on the parquet. Those who stood for the remainder of the tasting, and I seem to recall that this included our Chairman, get no marks at all from me although for those whose chairs collapsed and they sat down on a replacement it was, in Groucho Marx’s words, ‘ the triumph of hope over experience’.
Júlio, our most charming host, displayed a degree of stoicism which would have done credit to the Iron Duke and was not deflected for a moment from what he wanted to say. Happily everyone was still able to file out unaided at the end of the visit and to be presented with a bottle of 1974 Colheita Tinta Negra Mole, especially interesting on this side of the Atlantic as it is almost impossible to find a Colheita from this variety.
Wines tasted were:
Justino Fine Dry 3 Year Old
Mid straw colour with slightly spirity nose. The concentration to be expected of a 3 year and quite sweet for a wine labelled as ‘dry’ but soft and supple with moderate acidity.
Broadbent Rainwater 3 Year Old
Pale amber colour with some vestige of the Cognac cask on the nose. As the name suggests this is quite a light, delicate wine, clean and with a gentle finish.
14Mahogany colour with green edge. A nose of suede leather. Palate medium sweet with toffee and fruit cake. Balsamic notes on the finish with firm acidity and a hint of vanillin.
Broadbent Sercial 10 Year Old
Mid amber colour with a spicy nose and some kerosene. Some concentration here, but spirit too and a little toffee sweetness. Finish distinctly fruity.
Broadbent Verdelho 10 Year Old
Tawny colour with a waxy nose and a hint of the Cognac casks. Mouth-filling flavour with cutting acidity balanced by sweetness.
Broadbent Boal 10 Year Old
Mahogany colour with green edge. Slightly unforthcoming on the nose but an expansive palate with plum pudding flavours and a long, soft finish.
Broadbent Malmsey 10 Year Old
Medium full colour with green edge. Quite a bit of wood apparent on the nose but a soft and mouth-filling palate with background acidity and good length. Something of an aged Tawny port about this. Justino Fine Rich Colheita 1995
Deep colour with green edge. A minty nose with herbal notes. Sweet and succulent on the palate, full bodied and with fresh acidity Good length and nice complexity on the finish.
Justino Terrantez 1978
Mahogany colour with green edge Quite a dusty nose. Flavour still quite unresolved but with firm acidity and good concentration. Length too, with a little barley sugar on the finish.
Justino Verdelho 1954
Mahogany colour with green edge. A nutty nose reminiscent of Amontillado sherry. Long, rich palate freshened by a touch of spirit and a tangy acidity. Good length.
Justino Boal 1964
Full colour with green edge. Nose and palate of toffee and candied fruits. Very sweet and intense with a firm balancing acidity and a long, plum pudding finish.
Justino Malmsey 1933
Deep colour with green edge. The nose is luscious with lots of complexity and the palate has concentration matched to a fine acidity with flavours of walnuts and umami. Justin Howard-Sneyd mentioned roast beef pan scrapings while I found chocolatey flavours on the long finish. A flourish with which to finish an eventful tasting.
Restaurante Churrascaria at the Montanha – the Espetada - Neil Tully MW
The Ocean Gardens Hotel is situated high up on the eastern side of the bay of Funchal, with some spectacular views of the bay itself. Clearly popular with locals, an animated scene of Madeiran folk singers and dancers greeted us, many sporting characteristic pointed hats (barrete de lã), with the full-throated performance continuing for much of the evening.
For those not familiar, the espetada, which is a speciality of this restaurant involves pieces of seasoned beef barbecued on a skewer the length of a sword. These are hung vertically in front of each diner, forming a dramatic carnivorous guard of honour the length of the table.
The refreshingly dry white wine was Terras do Avô D.O.P. Madeirense, Verdelho, and for the meat: Terras do Avô D.O.P. Madeirense, Tinta Roriz, Syrah e Touriga Nacional and Quinta Seara d'Ordens, Talentus, Douro DOC.
MWC/Blandy’s- DC Flynt MW
Saturday morning in Funchal and a mild breeze, driven by the Canary current, was at our back . We casually paced three minutes upwards from the Avenida Do Mar past the 16th Century Fortress
Palácio São Lourenço, and after a final glance back at the Cathedral Albergaria, over our right
shoulder, a score of MW’s stepped under that symbolic black awning and slipped through the portal at 28 Avenida Arriaga into the Blandy’s Wine Lodge courtyards. This is a site that remains fixed in time, little different than when Charles Ridpath Blandy purchased the quarters in 1840. No degree of anticipation could prepare us for what would simply prove to be one of the finest Madeira tastings ever, and this was not just because of the impeccable quality of the wines present, but the meaningful way in which the Blandy’s team organized the wines.
Today, just three years past their significant 2011 bicentennial celebration, the future of the Madeira Wine Company (MWC) and their flagship brand, Blandy’s, is clearly in very capable hands. The 6th
and 7th generation family members of Michael and Chris Blandy drive the business, along with a
significant supporting cast captained by a true ‘triple threat’, three time IWC “Fortified Wine Maker of the Year”, Francisco Albuquerque.
Chris Blandy directed the tour adding a personalized view into the Blandy’s family banking and hotel enterprises, but most importantly he provided a careful and thoughtful insight into his vision of Madeira. “What I do today will have little immediate impact on our business. Our success today is a result of the last generation, and the success they enjoyed was the work of the generation that
16years from now by the children of our generation.” It was the verbal confirmation of our ‘Madeira education’ missed calculations cannot be corrected in 3 or 4 years. Here it could likely take 50 years to right the ship once a mistake is made.
The ancient wooden stairs lead to loft rooms throughout the lodge. Here each space on the compass provided a separate microclimate for maturing Blandy’s finest wines in this “canteiro system”. Active barrels from as far back as the 1920’s are still present in the canteiro. Some of the oldest, rarest and finest Madeira is now reduced to quantities of small demijohns. These are housed in a lower level caged vault. We fortunate few were soon to experience some of these, first hand.
16 “Canterio” aged wines were presented in flights of 8 followed by, with out question, the best meal we had on the island. It was a grand and elegant buffet. A mid-day meal that was as beautifully presented as it was fine. Two long oaken tables with ‘sturdy’ chairs were set in the Wine Library. The shelves held the liquid manuscripts of Madeira’s history.
Blandy’s Sercial 10 Years Old
o Alcohol: 19%
o Total Acidity 7 g/L
o Residual Sugar 48 g/L
o Baumé 1.1
o Bright, silky, tart orange-green notes and bitter almond, warm alcohol and lifting acidity on the finish
Blandy’s Verdelho 10 Years Old
o Alcohol: 19%
o Total Acidity 6 g/L
o Residual Sugar 73 g/L
o Baumé 2.2
o Style-Medium Dry
o Light orange-apricot notes with hints of wood and broad mid palate, crisp finish of orange with subtle hazelnut and vibrant acidity.
Blandy’s Bual 10 Years Old
o Alcohol: 19%
o Total Acidity 7 g/L
o Residual Sugar 100 g/L
o Baumé 3.4
o Style-Medium Rich
o Elegant bouquet of raisins and orange peel, concentrated sweet baked apple, brown sugar and fig with hints of orange-lime marmalade and walnut and a continuous thread of acidity.
Blandy’s Malmsey 10 Years Old
o Alcohol: 19%
o Total Acidity 6.5 g/L
o Residual Sugar 123 g/L
o Baumé 4.9
o Toffee, molasses and fig cake bouquet carried through the viscous mid palate with concentrated power and tension held together zesty lime notes and a slight salty finish.
Blandy’s Colheita Sercial 1998 Single Harvest
o Alcohol: 20%
o Total Acidity 7.50 g/L
o Residual Sugar 58 g/L
o Baumé 1.1
o Bottled 2013
o Citrus aromas and almond notes with a bright citrus-lemon acidity carries through to a creamy apricot and lemon chiffon mid palate, seamless alcohol and a bright fresh finish of Mandarin orange.
Blandy’s Colheita Verdelho 1998 Single Harvest
o Alcohol: 20% o Total Acidity 6.30 g/L o Residual Sugar 77 g/L o Baumé 2.2 o Style-Medium Dry o Bottled 2013
o White floral and lemon grass and honey notes lead to a broader more complex mid-palate of quince, green apple and almond and a baked lemon finish
Blandy’s Colheita Bual 1996 Single Harvest
o Alcohol: 20% o Total Acidity 6.75 g/L o Residual Sugar 100 g/L o Baumé 3.4 o Style-Medium Rich o Bottled 2011
o Nutty caramel and dried fig and date notes, vanilla toasted oak, combine with orange marmalade zest, sweet full body and completely balanced acidity and alcohol
Blandy’s Colheita Malmsey 1996 Single Harvest
o Alcohol: 20% o Total Acidity 7.75 g/L o Residual Sugar 135 g/L o Baumé 5.4 o Style-Rich o Bottled 2011
o Praline and burnt sugar notes with hints of smoke, sweet ripe apple with cinnamon spice, rounder mid-palate with an impression of warm brandy and the fresh finish shows a touch of sea salt
Blandy’s Vintage Terrantez 1976 Vintage/ Frasqueira
o Alcohol: 20% o Total Acidity 9.3 g/L o Residual Sugar 90 g/L o Baumé 3.2 o Medium-Rich o Bottled 1997
o Aromas of smoke and caramel combine with savoury notes and candied orange-lime, a mid-palate that is richer sweeter with date cake that slightly overpowers the acidity until the finish.
Blandy’s Vintage Bual 1969 Vintage/ Frasqueira
o Alcohol: 21% o Total Acidity 9.7 g/L o Residual Sugar 94 g/L o Baumé 3.3 o Medium-Rich o Bottled 2012
o Smoke, toffee and vanilla spice notes combine with candied fruit and walnut and flavors of exotic wood spice and crisp apple tart and an extremely long finish
Blandy’s Vintage Terrantez 1954 Demijohn*
o Alcohol: 19.4%
o Residual Sugar 113 g/L
o Volatile Acidity 1.56 g/L
o Explosive, absolutely focused power and finesse with lifting volatile acidity that increases the sense of fruit and alcohol as well, finishing warm with exotic candied notes of spice wood and sweet orange.
Blandy’s Vintage Sercial 1940 Demijohn*
o Alcohol: 19%
o Total Acidity 11.4 g/L
o Residual Sugar 69.22 g/L
o Volatile Acidity 1.34 g/L
o (First time the family seal was used on top of a bottle). Tight green, citrus orange and a touch of smoke and wood, dominated by quince, and bright clean lifting green edged lemon-lime notes.
Blandy’s Vintage Bastardo 1927 Demijohn*
o Alcohol: 21%
o Total Acidity 11.10 g/L
o Residual Sugar 90.92 g/L
o Volatile Acidity 1.53 g/L
o A sense of wood smoke and roasted coffee, hazelnut and fig-cake lifted by volatile acidity that expands the aromas and lightens and elongates and ads a level of precision to flavors of tart orange and lime zest
Blandy’s Vintage Bual 1920 Vintage/ Frasqueira
o Alcohol: 21% o Total Acidity 10.5 g/L o Residual Sugar 96 g/L o Baumé 3.5 o Volatile Acidity 1.44 g/L o Bottled 2006
o Chocolate, coffee and smoked walnut aromas lead to sweet fig and dates with stunning length and finesse driving to a finish of sweet orange and bracing acidity
Blandy’s Verdelho Solera 1870
o Alcohol: 21% o Total Acidity 9 g/L o Residual Sugar 90.2 g/L o Baumé 2.8 o Volatile Acidity 1.08 g/L o Bottled 1988
o Smoke, coffee, and gentle hazelnut notes with caramel apple and cinnamon spice, a silky mid –palate with racy-elegant green-edged acidity
Blandy’s Verdelho 1887 Demijohn*
o Alcohol: 21%
o Total Acidity 10.5 g/L
o Residual Sugar 91 g/L
o Volatile Acidity 1.26 g/L
o Sweet green-bright citrus and candied orange zest and a continuous scintillating vibrant acidity that controls and balances the concentrated praline, burnt sugar notes from attack to finish.
*The wines from Demijohn were generously procured from the Blandy’s family private cellar as part of this fantastic tasting, Thank-you Chris and Francisco.
Visit to the Vineyards- Stephen Skelton MW
Visits to vineyard areas by Masters of Wine typically start with an introduction to the region, its history, something about its vineyards – size, grape varieties, clones, rootstocks, training systems etc – followed by numerous tastings and vineyard visits. Not so Madeira. Did we learn how many hectares were planted overall? What was the average size of holding? What the split was between the ‘noble varieties’ and the workhorse Tinta Negra Mole (TNM)? Did we hear anything about rootstocks, clones or training systems? Is disease a big issue? What are the losses from mildew and botrytis? What about the finances of grape production in such a difficult region? Well – not really has to be the answer and we didn’t actually get to meet any growers at all! The Madeira Wine, Embroidery and Handicraft Institute (IVBAM) – who not only look after wine, but also lace-making and rum production – did take us to their small experimental vineyard where experimentation mainly seemed to be on clonal selection and then to the north side of the island to see the scenery and to allow some of us to get the real Madeira-vigneron experience of climbing up a steep goat track to see some vineyards.
However, from what we were told by various producers and from some of the questions we asked, we did learn that there are around 400-450 ha of vines, 1,500 individual growers, that most of the spraying is done by hand with back-packs, that TNM makes up about 85% of the total and that grape production is not a very profitable pursuit. Prices of grapes, picked and delivered to the winery, range from €1.20 per kilo for TNM up to €1.40 for the noble varieties – Sercial, Verdelho, Bual (or Boal if you prefer) and Malvasia – and that Terrantez is also grown and valued for high quality. We also divined that a variety developed at Geisenheim in the 1930s and heavily promoted by my old mentor there, Professor Becker for making Sekt, was also valued. This is the Riesling x Riesling variety Arnsburger which even the Germans don’t grow any more. The Madeirans like it for its high acidity and there was even talk of making sparkling wine from it. Of the old hybrids, Cunningham and Jacquet, we heard nothing but it is my guess that these high-yielding, disease-resistant varieties are still grown on the island and who knows where they end up.
One thing we did learn was the very low natural sugar levels at picking. 8-9% potential alcohol was about normal, with anything over 10% exceptional. Why sugars were so low is an interesting question. ‘To retain the acidity’ was the standard answer, but occasionally the idea that the grapes often had to be picked before they succumbed to mildew or rotted from botrytis was floated which sounds a more convincing answer to me. With the extremely small size of many (most) vineyards, the lack of roads and decent paths to many of the plots, the problems associated with hand-spraying and the low value of most of the grapes, if I was a producer I too would want to get them picked and into the press as soon as possible.
Then truth is about wine in Madeira is that it is not really about the grapes. The terrain is inhospitable and vineyards plots are uneconomically small and mechanisation mostly impossible. The pressure from diseases is huge and the normal means of controlling them not always available. Costs are high, distances to the wineries often great and grape prices are low – with only six main buyers, all of whom seem to get along with each other, this has to have a bearing. Grape growing is for many (probably most) a hobby. The vineyards have been inherited and unless you are very lucky and build on it, probably not worth much for agricultural use. So grapes are required, but there isn’t a huge relationship between quality of grape and quality of wine. The quality of the wine – which we were shown in tasting after fabulous tasting – is down to the skill of the winemakers and the way in which they age their wines. It was great to visit a vineyard area even smaller the the UK’s (in fact about one third of the size) and one which also has its climatic limitations. The hospitality of the IVBAM and of the producers was exemplary and made for an amazing four days.
Dinner at Choupana Hills- Jean- Michel Valette MW
Our last gathering began with a nod to our first day – in the form of a choice of four 10 year-old Madeiras from Barbeito: Sercial, Verdelho, Boal, Malmsey, expertly served by local sommelier Americo Pereira. Not only did we learn (as we would confirm later at dinner) that Madeira is a fine accompaniment to food in the form of passed canapés, but it is also goes wonderfully well with stars and sweeping nighttime terrace views.
Indeed, for our final goodbye our hosts at IVBAM treated us to the spectacular setting of Choupana Hills high above night-time Funchal…..whose lights following the contour lines of the by now familiar steep terraces looked like so many garlands on a Christmas tree.
Dinner followed at a monumental table offering multiple micro-climates at its various extremes. Interestingly, this was our first meal with Madeira during the main course Barbeita Rainwater and 10 year Verdelho followed by H&H 10 and 15 year old Malmsey. Delicious in all respects.
And to close, much like on my first MW trip many years ago, end-of-trip thanks fell to our most recent MW who (unlike this scribe so many years ago) showed no sense of nerves delivering a most
Master of Wine Biographies
Anthony Barne MW
Drawn inexorably into the wine trade from the Army, joining Todd Vintners in 1978. Moved to Hicks & Don in 1980 after 6 months with the Domaine Thenard. Wine buying and mail order, first wth H & D and then, in 1988, with John Harvey & Sons. In 1994 began Wine Consultancy for House of Fraser, re-started Phillips Auctioneers' Wine Department and co-founded FWW Wines to import from three Austrian growers. Became full time auctioneer in 1997 and part of Bonhams in 2001, remaining as consultant to Hicks & Don and continuing to write for Living France magazine. In 2010 also became the auctioneer for the Nederburg Wine auction in South Africa
Beverley Blanning MW
An independent wine journalist and author, Beverley writes for Decanter magazine and other
publications internationally. She is the author of 'Wine Tasting', the latest guide in the 'Teach Yourself' series, and 'Biodynamics in Wine'.
Beverley is an experienced international competition judge. She also presents and educates about wine for social and corporate events, including Christie's Wine Course and Decanter Education. She is based in London, where she lives with her husband and two children
Jane Boyce MW
Jane Boyce MW is an independent Wine Consultant and freelance wine writer. She has over thirty years experience in the wine trade, spanning all sectors of the business from buying to selling and shipping to marketing as well as the composition of wine lists for hotels and restaurants and the training of their staff. She has worked with various importers in London and Northern Ireland including Saccone and Speed, Hollywood and Donnelly, James Nicholson and Gilbeys.
In 2000 she became Ireland's first female Master of Wine and is still the only Master of Wine resident in Northern Ireland.
Having spent 15 years working freelance on writing and consultancy, Jane currently works 3 days a week as Fine Wine Manager with JNwine. She is passionate about wine education and food and wine matching.
She lives in Banbridge and enjoys tennis, walking, skiing, gardening and singing in the choir.
Jane has a BA Hons in European Studies from the University of Bath; she speaks fluent French, some German, Spanish, Italian and Russian.
Joel Butler MW
As one of the first two resident American Masters of Wine (1990), Joel Butler, MW has had a long and varied career in the wine industry.
He began his career with a noted retailer in the San Francisco Bay area, gaining an extraordinarily wide range of experience with wines from all around the world. From this start, Butler subsequently became a wine importer, worked for other retailers in the Bay area as a Buyer/Manager, as well as working as sales manager for a small but vibrant Bay area distributor/importer. More recently, he was the wine buyer for a key Bay Area restaurant/retail store. Throughout his career, Butler has also acted as a consultant, his wide range of experience greatly appreciated by many colleagues and clients. He has also been a highly regarded wine judge, with experience at the International Wine Challenge in London, the Decanter World Wine Awards, various Australian Show judgings, the San Diego National
23Wine Competition, the Banco d'Assagi and VinItaly competitions in Italy, San Francisco International Wine Competition and the California State Fair.
Charles Curtis MW
Charles Thomas Curtis trained originally as a chef, receiving the "Grand Diplôme" from Le Cordon Bleu Paris, and worked for many years in the restaurant industry. After a number of years with Moet Hennessy USA, he worked as head of department for Christie’s auction house in New York and Hong Kong prior to launching his own consultancy in 2012. In addition to his these duties, he works as a journalist, author, consultant and wine judge.
Mark De Vere MW
Educated at St Edward's School, Oxford and Christ Church, Oxford. Worked for Oddbins in Oxford and Windrush Wines in Cirencester, Hungerford and Oxford. Worked in vineyards and wineries in Australia and New Zealand for one year before joining Robert Mondavi.
Sarah Jane Evans MW
I'm a journalist and broadcaster. I started my working life in book publishing after doing a degree at Cambridge University in Classics and Social and Political Sciences. It was the serving of Sherry at supervisions that started my affection for Sherry, and ended up in it becoming my Dissertation topic. After some years, I moved into features journalism working for national newspapers and magazines, and developing a specialism in food writing. In the early 90s I became Associate Editor of the BBC's Good Food magazine, and I was also Chair and then President of the Guild of Food Writers.
24I have a strong interest in Spain, sparked when I lived in the country during my gap year. I wrote "Seville", a history of the city, I write the Spanish section of the Hugh Johnson Pocket Wine Guide, and I am Co-Chair of Spain and Sherry for the Decanter World Wine Awards.
Today I'm also a General Governor of the British Nutrition Foundation, a Trustee of the Andre Simon Memorial Fund, a Patron of HIV Aids charity The Food Chain, and one of the founders of the
Academy of Chocolate. My latest book is Chocolate Unwrapped.
I live in South London with my husband Richard, and we have two grown-up daughters. Pat Farrel MW
Patrick first became seriously interested in wine during the early 1990s, and became a Master of Wine in 1998. Patrick has been active in the Institute as an educator, mentor, examiner and past vice-president of the North American board. He’s written chapters in a range of wine books. He’s CEO of Inventive Technologies which makes pouring devices that decrease bite and bitterness in a range of beverages that have polyphenols (whiskey, red wine, oaked white wine, coffee, tea, vegetable and fruit juices). He’s also a medical doctor board certified in internal medicine, ophthalmology and medical quality assurance. Patrick lives in Huntington Beach, California.
DC Flynt MW
DC passed the Master of Wine Exam in 1998. He lives in Louisiana and is the CEO/President of MACH Flynt INC./DC FLYNT MW SELECTIONS. MACH Flynt INC. import, export, and distribute wine in 42 US States and in Canada, Mexico, UK, Spain, Australia, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. His principal focus is importing wines from Burgundy, Rhone, Champagne and New Zealand while exporting US wines. MACH Flynt Inc. is one of the largest US producers of control labels and buyer’s own brands, with clients that include Costco, Central Market, H.E.B. and many others.
DC started his career as dishwasher in 1966. After college he was instrumental in building one of the first FM radio Stations in Louisiana. He became a restaurateur in 1975, and started MACH Flynt INC. in 1991. He watched Hurricane Rita destroy his restaurant of 29 years, Café’ Margaux, in 2005. He and his wife of 30 years, Jane, have four children, Miller McDaniel, A’Dair Ragan, Campbell Craig, and Harrison David , who collectively represent the MACH in MACH Flynt.
Lance Foyster MW
Born Winchester 1961. Peter Symonds Boys' Grammar School 72-79. BA in Classics, Magdalen College Oxford 80-84. Lockes Wine Merchants, Winchester 85-87. Hampden Wine Co, Thame 88-95. Vinhos de Portugal (UK) Ltd 95-98. Ben Ellis Wines Sept 98 onwards. Occasional wine guide for Arblaster & Clarke. Now running Clarke Foyster Wines Ltd.
Nancy Gilchrist MW
Wine correspondent for The Boston Globe, USA 1985-1987. Lecturer and Head of Grants of St James's School of Wine,UK 1988-1990. MW in 1995 gaining a Rosemount Bursary and a Listel Scholarship. Freelance wine lecturer since 1990 working with a varied client base including Marks & Spencer, Christie's Wine Education, Leith's School of Food & Wine and many corporate customers. Speak to both trade and consumer groups throughout the UK on a wide range of topics but with particular interest and experience in champagne, wine and food combinations and South Africa. Run wine tours, especially to South Africa. Judge on South Africa panel for Decanter World Wine Awards. Also judge for international chocolate competitions.
Lisa Granik MW
Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Formerly a lawyer in private practice, I taught law at Georgetown University and then both at Moscow State University and the Institute of State and Law (Tbilisi, Georgie) as a Fulbright Scholar. Additional time served at Yale Law School, Moscow and St Petersburg resulted in a doctorate in law, after which I decided life was too short to be consigned to a
26life of vodka, potatoes and litigation. A felicitous change of career to the wine trade resulted in experience both with small importers and large distributors. Along with periodic writing for The World of Fine Wine and Sommelier Journal, I presently run Tastingworks, which offers a broad range of management consulting services to wineries seeking improved access and sales in the US market.
Justin Howard-Sneyd MW
Early indications of Justin's interest in wine were the blind tastings of wine gums in the back of physics lessons at school, but he didn't enter the profession until 1991, as a 'helper' on the IWC. In the following 6 years, he worked in a small wine shop, ran tasting courses, did a stint with Oddbins, and worked 6 vintages in South Africa, France, Hungary and Romania. In 1997, he joined Safeway as a buyer, and began to study for the MW. Justin became a Master of Wine in 1999. He spent 5 years as a wine buyer for Sainsbury's and joined to manage the Waitrose wine team in 2005. In early 2010, he moved to Direct Wines as Global Wine Director. In his spare time, Justin owns a small block of vines in the Roussillon, near Maury, and released his first vintage of 'Domaine of the Bee' in Spring 2009.
Mel Jones MW
Having started in the wine trade in her early twenties, working for importer and wine bar owner Ebury, Chatham and Dover, Mel moved out of London and spent a short time working for Patrick Grubb MW at Fine Vintage Wines in Oxford. She then had a break to breed, train and control the vigour of three children, regularly spraying for pests within the canopy. Once the children had matured, Mel started running wine courses for housewives in Gloucestershire and London, and writing for the local and then regional paper. In late 2003 she set up www.QuaffersOffers.co.uk a consumer website comparing supermarket and off-licence wines, particularly those on special offer,at the same time as starting on her quest to become a Master of Wine. She is obsessed with introducing the public to the exceptional flavours of authentic premium sherry and has a weekly wine slot on BBC Radio Gloucestershire.
Sheri Morano MW
Sheri Sauter Morano MW found her interest in wine initially sparked during a trip to Italy when she was 17. She began her formal wine education at the International Wine Center in New York City in 1997 following graduation from Duke University, where she majored in Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Classical Studies.
At the IWC, where she later became an instructor, Sheri completed the Intermediate Certificate in 1998 and the Advanced Certificate in 1999. In October of 2000 she became one of the youngest Americans to complete the Diploma and the following year passed the Certified Wine Educator (CWE) exam designed by the Society of Wine Educators to promote higher standards among wine educators in the United States. In November 2003, Sheri earned the title Master of Wine.
Sheri is an independent wine educator, writer and judge, as well as a consultant with Strategic Insights, a full-service marketing research firm. From 2004 through 2011, Sheri also served as the spokesperson for the Wines of France campaign in the United States. She is currently in the process of establishing the Triangle Wine School in the Raleigh-Durham, NC area in order to offer the Wine and Spirits Education Trust certifications to local trade professionals. An experienced wine judge, Sheri has judged at competitions in the US, the UK and Argentina.
Sheri resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with her husband, son, and an assortment of cats and dogs. In her spare time she enjoys running, gardening, traveling and cooking.
Arne Ronold MW
Arne Ronold is founder, publisher and editor of the Norwegian wine magazine Vinforum since 1986, and founder and head of the Norwegian Wine Academy since 1998. Arne was responsible for the Norwegian Sommelier education at the Culinary Institute of Norway in 1999-2000, is still lecturing here, and has been organising WSET courses in Norway in collaboration with the University of Stavanger since 2000. He is also the author of several books about wine
Mark Savage MW
Mark Savage was born in Uganda in 1949 and educated at Ampleforth College and University College Oxford (MA Classics). He was president of the Oxford University Wine Circle and a member of the Blind Wine Tasting Team. After leaving Oxford, he gained varied experience with Moet & Chandon, Harrods, OW Loeb & Co. and Tanners of Shrewsbury before establishing his own business. Mark became a Master of Wine in 1980.
He has served as a judge on several occasions for the Enological Society of the Pacific North West, the International Wine Challenge and Decanter World Wine Awards. He was also a director of the first International Pinot Noir Celebration held in Oregon in 1987 and is a regular visitor to the vineyards of that region. His has represented Chateau Tertre Roteboeuf in the UK since 1982. Other specialised areas of interest include Austria, Hungary and Slovenia, Piedmont and South Africa.
As owner of Savage Selection Ltd he currently works directly with about 50 small family wine estates in a dozen different countries. He has served for 10 years as an advisor to HM Government Hospitality Fund and is consultant to Winefields Auction House in Amsterdam. He is the author of ‘The Red Wines of Burgundy’ (Octopus Press) and is an occasional contributor to ‘The World of Fine Wine’ and ‘The Drinks Business’.
Stephen Skelton MW
Stephen Skelton started his career in wine in 1975. After 12 months at Schloss Schönborn in
Germany's Rheingau winegrowing region and two terms at Geisenheim Wine School, he returned to the UK in 1977 to establish Tenterden Vineyards in Kent (now the home of the UK's largest wine producer, English Wines Group) where he made wine for 22 vintages. He was also winemaker at Lamberhurst Vineyards, then the UK's largest wine producer, between 1988 and 1991.
Stephen is a consultant to the English & Welsh wine industry, and is involved with planting vineyards, particularly for the production of sparkling wine. Since 1986 he has written and lectured widely on English wine and has published four guides to UK vineyards, plus the handbook for students "Viticulture". In 2001, he won the Andre Simon Award for "Wine Book of the Year".
29He became a Master of Wine in 2003, and won the prestigious Robert Mondavi Winery Award for the highest marks in the Theory portion of the exam. In 2005 he was awarded the Noval Award for Communication.
Stephen was a member of the MW Education Committee from 2003-09 and was for 6 years the course wine coordinator, responsible for selecting wines for the worldwide and London courses. He was elected to the Council of the IMW in 2009.
Rod Smith MW
Rod came to wine, as so many people in the UK trade, through a Christmas vacation job with Oddbins, whilst studying at Chelsea School of Art, in 1987. He completed his degree in illustration and graphic design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee. Whilst working as a freelance illustrator, he ended up working part-time in Oddbins again. Here he decided that wine for a living, with pictures as a hobby, was more secure, affordable and rewarding than the other way round.
After many years in Oddbins from branches to head office to parent company, Rod established a consultancy business involving wine education and marketing. In 2005 Rod joined wine importer Mentzendorff, a company largely owned by Champagne Bollinger. Here he completed his Master of Wine, taking as his dissertation subject "Chenin Blanc in Anjou-Saumur".
In 2007 Rod found irresistible the lure of dealing with the world's finest wines and the world's most discerning customers, when the chance to work for Vins Sans Frontières in Nice came up. He has enjoyed living and working in the Côte d'Azur since then.
Mai Tjemsland MW
Mai Tjemsland is owner of GastroConsult, a Norwegian restaurant group with two restaurants, a catering company and a private wine club in Oslo. Mai is the first Norwegian female Master of Wine.
Neil Tully MW
Neil joined the wine trade in 1986, having graduated from London's Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design. After gaining a wide experience of the traditional wine trade at the Bow Wine Vaults in the City, he spent a number of years with Cellarworld, The Fulham Road Wine Centre and The Fulham Road Wine School, and passed the Master of Wine examination in 1993.
In 1992 he set up Amphora design Ltd as a specialist design consultancy to the wine trade, now based in Bath and working with clients in 28 countries. Amphora includes, in addition to its award-winning design work, brand development, advertising and marketing-related activities for its clients.
Amphora created and has been responsible for the design development of Kumala, and was behind Viña Errazuriz's award-winning redesign, and also a major redesign of Tesco's own-label range. Neil regularly lectures in the UK and internationally and has contributed to a number of publications. He lives near Wells in Somerset, and is married with three children
Jean-Michel Valette MW
Jean-Michel Valette is chairman of San Francisco based Vinfolio which enables fine wine enthusiasts to buy, sell and manage their collections online. In addition he is also chairman of Peet's Coffee & Tea and of Select Comfort as well as a director of Huneeus Vintners. When he is not on a phone or in a meeting, Jean-Michel likes mountains, riding his bike and tending to his bread.
Demetri Walters MW
Private Wine Events – Sales Manager Berry Bros. & Rudd
Demetri enjoyed a varied career, from chasing cows around Australia cattle yards to head-hunting, before finding his home in wine. With a family background in viticulture, joining the wine business was the realisation of a long-held ambition. His taste is broad and eclectic, and his enthusiasm lies in demystifying the complexities of the world of wine; principally to private audiences but also in wine school and at ticketed wine events. Demetri is responsible for his company’s Hellenic range of wines, is an enthusiastic member of the Madeira Club, and is privileged to taste ancient madeira on a not in infrequent basis. He became a Master of Wine in 2013.