Wine of the week

WINE OF THE WEEK

August 17, 2005|By MICHAEL DRESSER

Blandy's Alvada 5-Year-Old Madeira ($15/500 milliliters). Madeira, grown on a Portuguese island off the African coast, is one of the world's most distinctive styles of dessert wine, with piercing acidity balancing the caramel sweetness. The Madeira Wine Co. has done a very good job in introducing this unusual blend of bual and malmsey, two grapes that usually stand on their own. It's a distinctly sweet wine, but not at all treacly, and very smooth on the palate. It combines flavors of raisins, spices, lemon, nuts and honey. The price is quite reasonable and the size, two-thirds of a regular wine bottle, is just right for the end of a small dinner party. A particularly good match would be pecan pie.

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