When people talk about terroir, they naturally associate the term to its French origin of “Land”, with components such as climate, soil type and surroundings all playing a vital role in determining the character and quality of the fruit produced in the vineyard. This is, of course, no different on the island of Madeira and many of the decisions on where to plant certain varietals are based on years of study as to which terroir is best suited for each varietal.
Madeira wine has always been a bit outside of the norm and our ageing process is almost unique in the world - a result of 500 years of “research”. Exposing the wine to naturally high temperatures in very old oak barrels goes against all the traditional rules of ageing wine. The gentle heating of the wine produces water evaporation that ultimately both concentrates and intensifies the wine. Who would have thought that barrels of wine were specifically transported to tropical locations around the world to maximize its value on the market?
“Canteiro” (a Portuguese term describing the beams on which the barrels are stored) is the ageing method that the island has used for hundreds of years to replicate the sea voyages. At Blandy’s, we are very fortunate to have preserved our most important ageing lodge located in the centre of the island’s capital, Funchal. The building was originally built in 1473 as an annex to the Franciscan Convent that occupied the existing Municipal Gardens of Funchal. My ancestor, Charles Ridpath Blandy, bought the property in the middle of the 19th century and we have used it to age our Madeiras ever since.
At 30 metres above sea level, the building is in a prime location to age Madeira, and it is in this building where we like to talk about our Madeira Terroir.
Over 650,000 litres of our finest Madeira wines are distributed throughout 12 unique ageing rooms over 3 floors. Thick stone walls and wooden floors, together with the layout of the building, allow us to have natural microclimates in each room, with clear differences in temperatures and humidity levels.
Plataforma 3, Pavilhão T
Zona Franca Industrial da Madeira
Madeira – Portugal
Tel.: (+351) 291740 100
Avenida Arriaga 28,
Madeira – Portugal
Tel.: (+351) 291 228 978