After a much delayed BA flight on the Saturday and the cab ride to the hotel we met up with the Morton’s who had been in situ for a week and had encountered the appalling weather that was Storm Emma in the UK!
This was highly unseasonal and locals and veteran visitors noted that the appalling weather was exceptional.
Monday we met with Chris Blandy, Maria Jose and his team to resurrect what we could from the itinerary. There was a good introduction to Madeira wine-styles and vintages by Chris in the Lodge. Weather that day was perhaps the best of the week and we proceeded in our minibus to Furao in the north west of the island for magnificent views and a good lunch!
Tuesday dawned grey and misty, and our planned catamaran would certainly not have sailed! We were escorted by a superb guide to Camara de Lobos, the wonderful Palheiro gardens set around the ancestral Blandy home. The mist kept visibility to a 100 yards at best although we appreciated to fabulous garden layout and plantings and finally to the embroidery museum and fish market. A good impromptu day!
Wednesday was a wine day! Weather had not improved and was damp and misty with strong winds. However, the visit to Henriques and Henriques under the stewardship of Humberto Jardem was fantastic!! A full explanation of Madeira wine during which even the ladies were transfixed. A fascinating tasting followed across a range of wines, styles and ages! A lovely fish lunch followed.
Then progressing to the Barbeito winery set really in the clouds!! The weather was in fact so bad that the manager wasn’t expecting us but Distillers charm worked and we had another tasting – in fact totally different in styles from previous tastings. Well worth it!
Thursday saw the final official day of the visit though the continuing rain saw limited group activity! Shopping, coffees and beers and a last lunch at the Blandy bistro!
All in all a good visit obviously impacted by the lack of numbers although the “Distillers 6” did their best to keep the Distillers reputation safe!