the spanish aquisition

Madeira Wines

Madeira is the main island of a small archipelago in the Atlantic, about 1000km south of Lisboa in Portugal and 600km off the coast from Casablanca. It was "discovered" in 1419 by Portuguese naval adventurers and became a Portuguese colony soon after. By the second half of the 15th century it was a thriving producer of vines, sugar cane and wheat. Today, it is a famed producer of (most often) sweet fortified wines, which age amazingly. Fancy an 1875 vintage? Madeira's the place to look ...

Madeiras are fortified wines produced at four levels of sweetness. They are made from relatively low sugar, high acid grapes grown in an extreme maritime climate which makes mainland-level ripeness extremely difficult to achieve. The wines are a complex interaction of sugar, acid, wood, alcohol, heat, oxidisation and time (fruit too). Despite the apparent focus on sweetness in categorising Madeira and thus in selecting its use at table, in truth the key is the acidity of the wines – how else to understand a wine carrying 60 grams/litre of residual sugar as 'dry'? Sugar is fostered, acid is the given. It's juicy and tingling, flowing, delicious, like drinking rainwater.

Pereira D'Oliveiras

Pereira D'Oliveiras

Founded in 1850, Pereira D'Oliveiras is the most traditional of houses, and their wines are the most concentrated and earthy of Madeiras, yet brilliantly fresh and persistent. Nowadays, it is run by executive director Luis D'Oliveira, one of 3 brothers in the partnership and direct descendant of founder, João Pereira D'Oliveira. Fellow 5th generation family member Anibal D'Oliveira (along with his son, Felipe) is the winemaker.

Read More