Blandy's Bual Madeira 1966

  • ws97
  • wa94
Blandy's Bual Madeira 1966


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Madeira is a fortified wine made on the volcanic island of Madeira off the coasts of Portugal and Morocco, and Bual is an grape type of the region. We met Chris Blandy and tasted a full range of these beautiful wines. For 200 years his family has crafted high quality Madeira. Serve this 1966 chilled after dinner with blue cheeses or on its own as a dessert in itself. Once opened, the bottle will remain fresh and drinkable indefinitely. Chirs told us a story about opening a bottle of this 1966 in his cellar, and leaving it open for a full year, and the wine was still fresh and perfect to drink!

Blandy’s Bual 1966 was aged for 49 years in seasoned American oak casks and as with all of the family’s vintages, this wine started its aging process in the warm high attic floors of the lodge in the center of Funchal. Over the 49 years, the wine passed down from the warmer top floor of the Blandy’s Wine Lodge where it spent the first 10 years, to the second floor for 20 years and finally to the cooler first for the remaining 19 years. The art of finding the right balance between concentration and the freshness of the wine lies in the winemaker’s decision when to transfer the wine to the lower cooler north facing floors of the lodge.

In the 18th century, Madeira wine accounted for 75% of the wine consumed in the US. Madeira parties and clubs were commonplace---Americans loved this unique sweet wine! Madeira wines are aged through a heating process in which they lose up to 15% of their volume per year.  The constant oxidation in the aging process greatly contributes to the fact that Madeira, once opened, can last opened for many many months.

It has long been said that John Blandy, the founder of the family business, arrived in Madeira in 1807 aged twenty-three as a quartermaster to General Beresford, commander of the British garrison. Yet prolonged research among army lists yielded no mention of a John Blandy serving in Madeira. The truth was found instead by the Madeira wine lover and expert Emmanuel ‘Mannie’ Berk. In August 2006 he found a letter of introduction sent from London to Messrs Newton, Gordon, Murdoch, wine merchants in Madeira, which immediately solved the family mystery: ‘Sirs! At the desire of our particular friend, Richard Fuller Esq., Banker in this City, we beg leave to introduce Mr John Blandy who visits your Island on account of ill health, and wishes to obtain employment in a Counting House. We shall be obliged if you can promote his views, and accordingly recommend him to your attention.’ The letter is dated 23 December 1807, implying that John Blandy arrived in the island early in 1808 rather than with British forces some months before.

For 200 years, Blandy’s Madeira has been synonymous with quality Madeira wine.
The Blandys are unique in being the only family of all the original founders of the Madeira wine trade to still own and manage their own original wine company. The family has played a leading role in the development of Madeira wine throughout its long history and members of the family continue to live on Madeira, maintaining a tradition that goes back to 1811.
Michael and Chris Blandy are the 6th and 7th generations to work in the business.

Category Madeira
Region Portugal, Madeira
Brand Blandy's
Alcohol/vol 20%
  • ws97

Wine SpectatorElegant, filled with rich buttery and nutty notes to the dried tropical fruit, apricot and baked apple flavors. Creamy midpalate, with a long, sumptuous finish filled with white chocolate, citrus zest and mineral accents, delivering hints of pepper. Drink now through 2040. 60 cases made.

Kim Marcus
  • wa94

Wine AdvocateThe 1966 Bual was bottled in 2015. Deep amber in colour, it has a harmonious nougat, Chinese tea, walnut and dried fig-scented bouquet that unfolds wonderfully in the glass - so complex and mercurial. The palate is smooth and viscous on the entry, almost candied with dried orange peel, mandarin, walnut and a touch of peach skin. The acidity is beautifully judged here and lends this Bual the tension to counterbalance the richness and density on the finish, so that it almost seems weightless on the effortless finish.

Neal Martin, March 2016







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