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Madura, Madeira: fine, old Portuguese wine

Chef Patron Vitor Claro focuses on the pour-tions

Chef Patron Vitor Claro focuses on the pour-tions

I’m in Lisbon this week and know never to turn down an invitation to join a passionate wine club’s monthly dinner at Claro.  Quite aside from Vitor Claro’s always exquisitly matched menus, here’s why.

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So we all know Madeira is indestructible but even so, how can one not be impressed by a Solera Sercial 1835?  The oldest wine I’ve tasted – or at least the oldest component of the Solera can take a bow.  Wonderful vigour – bracing acidity – with still great depth of fruit to balance.

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But what about a white wine from Trás-os-Montes?  From Valle de Pradinhos (old spelling) this 1970 seemed youthful yet.  Terrific structure, still fruit.  Wow.

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Or this 1955 from Bairrada, still in fine fettle.

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Bairrada-based Caves São João’s wonderfully ageworthy reds will be no surprise to readers of these pages – this ’66 from the Dão was absolutely spectacular – still so sweet scented, with lovely fruit.  Hotfoot it to the cellar door while stocks last – my report on a recent visit here.

One youngster made it to the table – Claro’s new red, Foxtrot from Portalegre, Alentejo.  Sweet scented, red fruited, very fresh and finely honed, it put me in mind a little of the Caves São João.  I wonder how it will look in 50 years?

 

 

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