The Atlantic coast stretches mile after mile. The mountains fall sheer to a deep blue ocean. The north coast of Madeira is a magical place
The North Coast is less than an hour’s drive from Funchal. The roads in Madeira dotted with tunnels are excellent and the VE4 to Sao Vicente is no exception. We left Funchal in the late morning after a mammoth tasting at d’Oliveira and drove to Sao Vicente through spectacular country well in time for lunch.
Lunch was at a Madeiran grape producer’s house in São Vicente which is the second largest grape producing county of Madeira. The São Vincent’s cellars produce still wines among which the whites from Verdelho stand out. We drank Barbusano’s refreshing, unoaked 2014 Verdelho – it was a relief to be drinking unfortified wines, and ate traditional farmers’ meat stew, home baked bread and egg pudding.
We drove west along the spectacular new coastal road with tunnels every few yards and parallel to the narrow, twisting old road clinging to the mountain side, past Ponta Delgada to Seixal. Ponta Delgada is a charming village well known for its agricultural products, traditional handicrafts, embroidery and wickerwork. The village church – the Imaculado Coração de Maria built in the 15th century, is famous for its festival of Senhor Bom Jesus which takes place in the first weekend of September, bringing in thousands of visitors and pilgrims to this remote corner from all parts of the island.
We stopped in picturesque Seixal to taste still wines at the local producer Terras do Avô. “I was born in the house next door 74 years ago. I still sleep in the same bed I was born and probably made” Duarte Caldeira, the dignified old winemaker of Terras do Avo said. He has 3 ha of vines at 31 different locations and buys extra grapes from local growers to make about 30,000 litres of wine each vintage. “We have a lot of water” he added. “It rains about ten litres per sq. meter a day here. The water is collected in levadas and taken south.”
We tasted his two wines – a 2014 Verdelho and a red from Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah and ate the many tasty snacks his wife had made before driving back to Funchal.
Sociedade Duarte Caldeira e Filhos – Seixal Wines, Lda.
Sede: Sitio do Lombinho – Seixal, 9 270 – 125 Porto Moniz
Tel: (+351) 965 013 168(Duarte Caldeira) | (+351) 964 008 001 (Sofia Caldeira)
Our visit was arranged by:
Rita Galvão CEO / Diretora Executiva +351 912304517 www.discoveringmadeira.com www.winetoursmadeira.com