The forgotten taste of Madeira

The forgotten taste of Madeira


This week, the wine chronicle comes to you live from Madeira. This Portuguese island located off the coast of Morocco has been renowned for centuries for the quality of its fortified wines, subjected to long oxidative ageing, the secret of their rancio character, which is said to be “maderized”. Most of the Madeira wines formerly offered at the SAQ shone with their richness, both in sugar and in alcohol. This may be the reason for their decline in popularity.

However, during a tasting at Vinhos Barbeito, it was not so much the opulence of the wines that struck me, but rather their eminently digestible profile, despite residual sugar above 60 g/L and a 19% alcohol. This distinctive signature has made Barbeito internationally renowned, at all levels of the range. Models of elegance and complexity, which Quebecers would benefit from rediscovering, if the SAQ gave them the opportunity…

While waiting for the return of the exceptional Madeiras from Barbeito, here are some Portuguese finds offering a good quality-price-pleasure-authenticity ratio.

Cheers! Saúde! 

Adega de Figueira, Beira Interior 2021, Castelo Rodrigo

< strong>★★★ | $1⁄2 | $15.10 | Portugal 12.5% ​​| Organic

The Adega de Figueira cooperative is located in Castelo Rodrigo, in the very north of the mountainous region of Beira Interior, a stone's throw from the Douro. The winery, which is continuing its transition to organic farming, signs here a delicious organic white wine, made from a blend of Siria, Fonte Cal, Rabigato and Malvasia Fina. Both fresh, savory and delicious, with just enough volume on the palate, the wine reveals precise flavors of white fruits and guara almonds. A little treat at a bargain price.

SAQ code: 14431223

Symington, Douro branco 2021, Altano, Naturalmente

★★★ | $1⁄2 | $16.65 | Portugal 12.5%

Like so many young white wines, the Naturalmente from the Symington family benefits from being aerated for about thirty minutes in a carafe. We are thus able to appreciate the aromatic subtlety of the Viosinho, Malvasia Fina, Arinto, Gouveio, Rabigato and Moscatel Gallego grape varieties. Crisp and fresh on the attack, the 2021 builds volume in the mid-palate, while fine structure and delicate bitters frame the fruit on the finish. A good dry white for an aperitif or for oysters.

SAQ code: 13859771

< h3>Dow's, Symington Family Estates, Douro 2019, Vale do Bomfim

★★★ | $1⁄2 | $15.95 | Portugal 14.5%

The English would say of this wine that it “over delivers”. – in other words: it offers more than the customer asks for, in a good way. The attack on the palate is full and generous, bursting with flavors of very ripe black fruit, with a hint of smoke and spice. Far from being too robust, it is even surprisingly open for a 2019. Remarkable length and density for the price.

SAQ code: 10838982< /p>

Quinta da Rosa, Douro 2019, La Rosa

★★★1⁄2< strong>| $$ | $21.90 | Portugal 13.5%

In 1988, Sophia Bergqvist breathed new life into this old quinta, giving it to her grandmother, Claire, as a christening gift. Thanks to a cool summer in the Douro, oenologist Jorge Moreira signs an elegant and rich 2019 with a wide range of flavors of black fruits, flowers and spices. Another proof that the region can give generous red wines, but digestible and cut for the table.

SAQ code: 928473

Casa Ferreirinha, Douro 2020, Esteva

★★1⁄2 | $ | $13.65 | Portugal 13%

The Porto Ferreira house (Sogrape) also produces a series of table wines under the Ferreirinha brand. At the entry level, the Esteva is all about suppleness and fruity roundness. There is a bit of tannin in the background, just enough to frame a suave substance full of flavors of raspberry, blackberry and blueberry jam. A nice bottle for all-dressed pizza and burgers.

SAQ code: 13882541

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Good ★★

Very good ★★★

Excellent ★★★★

Exceptional ★★★★★

More stars than dollars: well worth the price

As many stars as dollars: worth its price

Fewer stars than dollars: the wine is dear