Madura, Madeira: fine, old Portuguese wine
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.
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.
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.
Or this 1955 from Bairrada, still in fine fettle.
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?