It was not so long ago that the only Madeira wine one could find in the Algarve was the most basic varieties, an essential ingredient in the kitchen when making a nice jus de veau but hardly wines to get excited about and much less worthy of our Christmas table. However, things have changed and one of the wines of one producer in particular, Barbeito, are now well represented in the Algarve. Apolónia supermarkets carry a good selection, ranging from the single cask varietals such as the 2000 Malvasia in the main photo to the very special “Frasqueiras” range. Prices range from around €27 up to more than €160 for a 50cl bottle.
Here I will concentrate on the 2000 single cask Malvasia, priced at €39.95 in Apolónia; a wine that is an excellent match for the fruit-based cakes we enjoy around Christmas time or as a digestif.
The year 2000 was considered one of the best vintages of recent times for the Malvasia grape on Madeira Island and the very best grapes were selected to make this single cask wine which was bottled in April 2014 resulting in 1,111 bottles.
In the glass, the wine is a deep golden colour with smooth toasty aromas marrying with white fruits and lemon peel. In the mouth, the wine is beautifully balanced with great acidity and a luscious bitter sweet finish. Serve slightly chilled, but not too cold to avoid masking the many subtle aromas and flavours.
By PATRICK STUART [email protected]