Madeira means ‘wood’ in Portuguese after the predominant vegetation found by the early settlers in the 1420s. It is a 1hr 45 mins flight from Lisbon and on the same latitude as Bermuda and Morocco. The island is extremely mountainous, and the climate subtropical. Bananas and sugarcane grow alongside vines, though these are generally grown at slightly higher altitudes. Producers are encouraging growers to replant the good workhorse grape, Tinta Negra (Mole), with more noble grape varieties such as Sercial, Verdelho, Bual (Boal) and Malmsey (Malvasia). Moscatel is also grown as well a two rarities: Terrantez and Bastardo.

The ‘Canteiro’ production method is best whereby casks of Madeira are left for very extended periods in warehouses on stillages (canteiros) in multi-floored warehouses, heat and air being friends of the Madeira winemaker. The ‘Estufa’ method using heated steel tanks is fine and achieves good results, being the artificial recreation of the old practice of sending Madeira across the equator to the West Indies and back again! Flavours of roasted almonds feature in the younger, fresher Madeiras, with various degrees of ginger, cinnamon and mace through to molasses in the older wines. They have in common balancing citrus notes of lemon, orange and kumquat.

D’Oliveiras is a very traditional (in the best sense of the word) company with, by repute, the best stocks of very old vintage Madeiras. Henriques & Henriques produces a fine range of age-statement-carrying Madeiras as well as very fine old vintage ones. Blandy’s is part of the Madeira Wine Company which is now back in the management of the British Blandy family. Barbeito occupies a zen-like winery, extremely high up above the sea in conditions conducive to making a fresher style.

Showing 3 Items

  1. Blandy's Duke of Sussex Dry
    Blandy's Duke of Sussex Dry Madeira
    Tinta Negra Mole 19.0% Vol
    Other Fortified > Madeira
    A delicate dry Madeira with a lovely citrus and apricot fruit character and a fresh nutty finish,...
    £16.20 per bottle
  2. Henriques & H 10 YO Malmsey - 50cl
    Henriques & Henriques 10 Year Old Malvasia Madeira - 50cl
    Malvasia 20.0% Vol
    Other Fortified > Madeira
    Christmas cake and flaming plum pudding on the nose with touch of burnt sugar. Intense and sweet in...
    £21.00 per bottle
  3. D'Oliveiras 3 Year Old Sweet Madeira
    D'Oliveiras Sweet Madeira
    Tinta Negra Mole 19.0% Vol
    Other Fortified > Madeira
    In the style of a good Malmsey, this has a distinctly sweet, fat palate with a sharpness so typical...
    £17.20 per bottle

Showing 3 Items