Vinhos Barbeito, founded by Mário Barbeito in the 1940’s, is a forward-thinking Madeira producer now owned by the Barbieto family and the Japanese wine distributor Kinoshita Shoji. A few years ago the decision was made to eliminate the addition of caramel to the wines and Barbeito are attempting to produce slightly drier, more food-oriented wines which are not de-acidified in order to retain more freshness and tang.
Rita took us to Barbeito for a mid-morning tasting. Leandro Gouveia was waiting for us at the entrance to Barbeito’s hill top winery, just outside Funchal. We admired the view from the terrace, toured the winery and settled down in the small tasting room for the main event. Leandro spoke about Madeira with passion and poured generously.
Ten wines were tasted:
- 10 Year Old Dry Sercial: 100% Sercial, the grape that makes the driest, most elegant form of Madeira. The late-ripening vine provides grapes that are high in acidity and wines that can last for decades. It was served chilled. (“All young Madeiras should be served chilled” Leandro said). It was amber in colour and the 47 g/l of residual sugar was adequately masked by the high acidity. “It will be good with marinated salmon, olives and cheese” Leandro add.
- 20 Year Old Sercial: 93% Sercial and 7% Tinta Negra from Ribeiro – an area famous for this red grape. It was darker and had a ‘dry’ nose. The flavour was slightly salty and smokey. “Would be good with limpets.” Leandro added. (pH 3.7 and alcohol 19.5%
- 10 Year Old Verdelho: 100% Verdelho. ‘Dry’ nutty nose and taste. Soft and easy to drink. Long. (19% alcohol)
- 20 Year Old Verdelho: 85% Verdelho and 15% Tinta Negra from Ribeiro. 77g/l residual sugar. pH 3.38, 20% alcohol. (would be good with cheeses)
- 1998 Cloheita: 100% Tinta Negra. Bright orange (no caramel!)
- 20 Year Old Tinta Negra: Nose of ripe oranges. Sweet
- 10 Year Old Bual: 100%. Pale orange. Sweet
- 1978 Cercial: Dark and sweet
- 30 Year Old Malvasia: 100% Malvasia. Perfumed with a dry nutty flavour. 98 g/l of residual sugar though! Only 650 bottles produced
- 1875 Malvasia: 100% Malvasia. Dark with brown edges. Floral, dry nose. Sweet but with good acidity. Residual sugar over 100g/l
It was a splendid tasting. All that wine and talk about food made us ready for lunch. We thanked Leandro, got in the car and drove to Quinta das Vinhas to eat Espetada.
Our tasting was arranged by:
Rita Galvão CEO / Diretora Executiva +351 912304517 www.discoveringmadeira.com www.winetoursmadeira.com