Name: Ana Vieira Soares
Job Title: Manager of Blandy’s Wine Lodge
Years Working at Blandy’s: 23
Favourite Madeira: Blandy’s Terrantez 20 Years Old
“Fragrant and explosive on the nose, with a warm feeling in the mouth and panoply of exotic flavours, from dried fruits to spices.”
How to Enjoy:
“Any time!” she laughs, “the 20 year old Terrantez goes very well with hard cheeses, especially ones coated with spicy black peppercorns or herbs.”
Ana advises that Blandy’s Terrantez is too special to be used in the kitchen. However, she does cook with it on occasion when making an assado de porco (roast pork dish), following an old recipe from her grandmother. “The recipe itself is a secret,” she says, “but I can tell you that the main ingredient is Madeira. You have to marinate the pork in this for 24 hours before cooking”.
One of Ana’s favourite stories comes from a time when the Cooperage was still based at Blandy’s Wine Lodge. During a morning coffee break with colleagues she heard Mestre Silva, one of the coopers, calling her name:
“Miss Ana,” he said, “come quickly, let’s go to the Jorge!”
Ana had never heard of the “Jorge” and asked him what it was. He smiled but said nothing, leading her silently to one of the wine attics. Inside was a barrel of a rare Bastardo wine from 1954, with a small tube attached. Mestre Silva reached behind the barrel and with a flourish produced a little cup, hidden there for her to taste some of the wine. Ana was touched by this, but after enjoying the 1954 Bastardo she still didn’t understand what the “Jorge” was. Mestre Silva laughed and explained that years ago there used to be a cooper, called Jorge, who worked at the Blandy’s Wine Lodge and would often go missing at various points throughout the day. When his fellow coopers went to look for him, Jorge was always found in this very room, with a cup in hand. Naturally the room was named after him. Today, however, it is known as the “Vine to Wine” room and forms part of the Guided Tours.
Why not try our Blandy’s 20 Years Old Terrantez?
Job Title: PR Assistant
Years Working at Blandy’s: 21
Favourite Madeira: Blandy’s Verdelho 10 Years Old
Tasting Notes: “This is a medium dry wine so it’s not too sweet, not too dry. With the Verdelho you notice freshness, it’s very elegant, with hints of dried fruits and orange.”
How to Enjoy: “With oysters, pâtés and cheeses, that’s a very good combination! Or,” she adds with a grin, “just by itself!” Rita usually enjoys a Blandy's 10 year old Verdelho just before dinner as an aperitif. She says the best cheeses to sample it with are cured cheeses, for example, a São Jorge cheese from the Azores, which is cured for 6-8 months.
Cooking Tips: Blandy’s Verdelho tastes delicious with mushrooms well, Rita says she often makes a mushroom sauce to compliment a beef dish. However, she stresses one very important point, “if I use Verdelho for cooking, I always have a glass to drink too – it helps.”
Blandy’s Highlight: “I once had the chance to try a Verdelho from 1887 from the private collection.” To taste such a rare wine which isn’t available on the market was “a unique experience.”
Why not try our Blandy’s 10 year old Verdelho?