Home > History of Wine > Specific Madeira wines mentioned in Vizetelly’s Facts about Port and Madeira (1880)

Specific Madeira wines mentioned in Vizetelly’s Facts about Port and Madeira (1880)

The Armazem dos Vinhos Velhissimos of Messrs. Cossart, Gordon & co. at Funchal. From Vizetelly “Facts about Port and Madeira”. Google e-Books.

At the recent annual Madeira tasting organized by Mannie Berk and Roy Hersh there was the usual talk of 18th and 19th century vintages both recently purchased and drunk.  There was also talk between Paul Day, Mannie Berk, and myself of historic references to these vary same vintages.  No mention of historic Madeira may be made without referring to Henry Vizetelly’s Facts about Port and Madeira (1880).

For this post I have gathered up all references to Madeira wine where a date or age may be attributed.  Those wines simply described as old or young have been left out.  Vintages marked circa are where I calculated the date based on Vizetelly having been on the island in 1877.  Those marked with a tilda represent what I take to be a vague reference to date, i.e. half a century old.  For solera wines the year typically represents the oldest vintage upon which the solera was founded and not the year the solera was founded.

Vintages Tasted

The vintages tasted include just a handful of wines older than 50 years of age at the time of Vizetelly’s visit to Madeira.   The vintages from the 20 years before the Oidium devastation of 1852 are largely solera.  Except for 1857 Senhor Cunha, Verdelho, the vineyards planted in response to Oidium appear to yield wine again with the 1862 vintage.  From this vintage foward Vizetelly tastes a wine from each year save the 1864 and 1867.

  • 1760
  • 1792 Solera
  • 1820
  • pre-1827
  • c. 1827
  • 1829
  • c. 1832
  • 1832 Solera
  • 1834-35
  • 1835 Solera
  • c. 1838
  • 1842 Solera
  • 1844 Solera
  • 1847
  • 1848
  • 1850 Solera
  • 1851
  • pre-1852
  • 1857
  • 1862
  • 1863
  • 1865
  • 1866
  • 1868
  • 1869
  • 1870
  • 1871
  • 1872
  • 1873
  • 1874
  • 1875
  • 1876

The Tasting Notes

Note, not every vintage wine mentioned includes a tasting note.

Viuva Abudarham e Filhos

1871 Campanarios – “remarkably fine in flavour and possessed a peculiar and delicate bouquet”

Signor Augusto C. Bianchi, partidista

c. 1862 Bual, Campanario – “rich and almost oily in character”
1873 São Martinho – “soft, and with a very fine aroma”
1874 São Martinho – “soft, and with a very fine aroma”

Blandy Brothers

1760 – “but a phantom of its former self, it had not in the slightest degree turned acid”
1792 Solera, Cama de Lobos – “a powerful choice old Reserve”
Pre-1827 Verdelho, São Martinho – “boasting a wonderful perfume…one of the most perfect old Madeiras we ever tasted”
c. 1827 Sercial – “remarkable…to-day emitting a wonderful aromas, and having a marked though pleasant pungent flavour.”
1829 Porto da Cruz, bottled 1842 – “of remarkable lightness and delicacy of flavour””
1868 Cama de Lobos
1870 São Martinho – “excellent wine of medium dryness”
1872 Ponta Delgado – “combining a pleasant dryness with remarkable softness.”
NV 8 Year old blend – “agreeable and not over-spirituous wine, with a slight sub-pungent flavour, and fairly brilliant in colour although it had not been fined.”

Senhor Henrique J. M. Camacho

~1857-1862 Ponta do Pargo – “old, powerful yet refined in flavour”

Cossart, Gordon, and Co.

1832 Solera, Bual – “remarkably delicate in flavor”
1835 Solera, Malmsey – “had all the qualities of a choice liqueur”
1842 Solera, Bastardo, São Martinho – “soft choice wine with fine bouquet”
1844 Solera, Cama de Lobos – “deep-coloured, powerful wine of fine high flavour” replenished with Bastardo.
1850 Solera, Malmsey
1851 Verdelho – “sound mellow wine of the highest character”
1862 Malmsey – “pale, delicate…with a highly-developed bouquet, which promised to become a wine of singularly choice character.”
1863 Viho do Sol
1865 Sercial, Ponta do Pargo – “exceedingly dry and clean-tasting, and slightly pale.”
1874 North Side – “light and agreeable to drink”
1875 North Side – “light and agreeable to drink”

Senhor Cunha, partidista

1847 Bual – “rich pungent”
pre-1852 Malmsey – “luscious and refined, and beautifully rounded.”
pre-1852 Sercial – “dry delicate”
1857 Verdelhos – “particularly fine”
1873 Verdelhos – “particularly fine”

Messrs. R. Donaldson and Co.

1866 Cama de Lobos – “high-flavoured yet delicate wine, and beautiful soft and aromatic”
1869-1870 São Martinho – “proved equally delicate and fragrant.”
1872 Cama de Lobos
1872 Porta de Cruz – ” dry, light, and delicate, and possessing an agreeable freshness”
1872 São Martinho and Santo Antonio – “especially soft, with a very aromatic bouquet”
1876 Porta da Cruz – “grapy alike in flavour and bouquet”

Mr. Henry Dru Drury

1820 Sercial – “powerful bouquet and a dry but scarecely pungent flavour”
~1820 Bual – “exceedingly pungent and powerful – an essence of wine, so to speak”
~1820 Malmsey – “deep-tinted luscious”
1874 Cama de Lobos
1876 Bual – “delicate and fresh-tasting”

Messrs. Henriques and Lawton

c. 1832 Malmsey – “”venerable…of ruby brightness and rich liqueur-like flavour, and possessing an admirable bouquet.”
c. 1865 Sercial – “a great wine in full perfection”
1868 Santo-Antonios – “dry and aromatic”
1870 Santo-Antonios – “dry and aromatic”
1871 Santo-Antonios – “dry and aromatic”
1872 Bual – ” rich oily…too sweet, however, to be drunk excepting as a dessert wine”

Krohn Brothers and Co.

c. 1838 Cama de Lobos – “very strong, yet wonderfully soft, which had developed an exquisite bouquet and a slightly nutty flavour.”
1868 Cama de Lobos – “powerful, sub-pungent and aromatic wine”
1869 Tinta
1874 Cama de Lobos – “very dry”


1834-35 – “had acquired a singular softness and delicacy, and proved much less spirituous than we expected to find it.”
1848 Sercial – “deep in colour, and dry and pungent in flavour””
1872 – “slightly more matured, was soft and delicately pungent in flavour”
1873 – “light, dry, and fine-flavoured”

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