Blandy’s Bual Madeira 1920 (750ML)
Critic Scores, Reviews & Descriptions
99 DE / 19.5 JR / 97 WA / 96 WE
The 2020 bottling of an iconic wine after it has spent a century in cask: deep mahogany; rich, pungent thick-cut tawny marmalade character, scented, floral too and slightly singed around the edges; powerfully concentrated, candied orange peel with a touch of malt, racy acidity and honeyed richness in perfect balance. Utterly ethereal. - Richard Mayson, Decanter
Bottled in 2020. This particular bottling has aged for 100 years in American oak casks and then, from 1 March 2017, in glass demijohns. Only 1,199 bottles released. TA 10.74 g/l, VA 1.44 g/l, pH 3.53, RS 110 g/l, volumetric mass 1,027.69 g/l.
Deep mahogany colour. Very very quiet on the nose when first poured. Dark. Smells like cherry wood. Then it unhurriedly starts to offer glimpses of its century of secrets. Christmas cake and cherry tobacco. Maraschino. Dark chocolate. Stem ginger. Cinnamon bark. Salty quinine. The masses of acidity begin to build, in a silent roar. It feels, in the mouth, like a carved-emerald bolt of shocking purity. Lime marmalade. Dried lime peel. Dill, tarragon, fennel, caraway, cumin. The spices whorl up and up and catch the light, as if we've walked into an old chapel and disturbed a century of dust. A century of memories. Sweet but it’s bones are dry and the vibrating edges of it are dry. Firm; fierce yet full of grace; the slender power of a ballerina. Rose petals and pine oil. Agonisingly, I had no time to really sit with this wine. My tasting note simply doesn't do it justice. –TC, Jancis Robinson
The centenary bottling of Blandy's 1920 Bual is showing superbly, unwinding in the glass with aromas of dried figs, walnuts, caramelized citrus rind, bitter honey, warm spices and nori. Full-bodied, deep and immensely concentrated, this is a searingly intense, multifaceted and pungently sapid wine of immense vibrancy and persistence; indeed, given its protracted maturation in wood, this Bual represents almost a reduction of Madeira, and each small taste lingers on the palate for minutes. The 1920 Bual remained in oak barrels until March 2017, when it was racked to demijohn, and any of the 900 bottles that constitute this release will be worthy of ardent pursuit.—William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
Dark gold-green, this 100-year-old wine is extraordinary in its age and its flavors. The concentration is immense, sweetness vying with the most intense acidity in a welter of flavors. Such is its focus that it is for sipping rather than drinking—a wine for amazed meditation. Drink now. –Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast