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video review: wine of the week

11th December 2011

Blandy's Alvada 5-Year-Old Madeira, Portugal
A look at two Madeira wines in the run up to Christmas, the one time of the year when sweet fortified wines are guaranteed sellers. These wines are perhaps the ultimate festive and deep winter tipples with their Christmas cake flavours and warming background of spirits. Blandy's has its Duke of Clarence Madeira in several UK supermarkets and many independent merchants, and whilst it is a good bottle of wine, this review concentrates on the superior Alvada 5-Year-Old. It costs £2 more and comes in only a 50cl bottle, but you get what you pay for. Notes of walnut, prune and rum-soaked raisins are joined by a twist of Seville orange. On the palate this has tea-stewed fruit compote richness and sweetness, with notes of chocolate and fudge, but again that thrilling tang of orange gives this real lift and real energy. More information on both wines and food matching suggestions in the video. The Alvada is £12.99 in Waitrose. The Duke of Clarence is £10.99-£11.99, see all stockists on

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See previous wines of the week in the value archives