Top table wine from Madeira: Primeira Paixão Verdelho 2009
Last year, I learned that two of Portugal’s best known winemakers, Rui Reguinga and Francisco Albuquerque (pictured), were collaborating on a new table wine project in Madeira. At last, I’ve caught up with the wine, Primeira Paixão, in its second (2009) vintage. I must say, it’s very impressive indeed – my tasting note below.
Multi-award winning winemaker Albuquerque is responsible for some of Madeira’s best known brands, including Blandys and Cossart Gordon and, when I met him in 2007, he was excited by the island’s potential for table wine. Reguinga, on the other hand, is focused on table wines from the mainland and consults widely at home and abroad when he’s not making his own wines in the Alentejo (Terrenus and, in joint venture with wine writer Richard Mayson, Quinta do Centro – see here for my report of a visit).
Reguinga says Primeira Paixão “was a challenge I decide to put at in one of my visits to Madeira : ‘Francisco you want to make with me a table wine varietal Verdelho in Madeira island??'” One month later, he landed in Madeira to make the wine, spurred on by Albuquerque’s reply – ” I know exactly where we have the best grapes!!”
The grapes come from ” Casa da Vinha,” a 2 hectare terraced parcel of Verdelho in the south part of the island on volcanic soils, just 600m from the Atlantic. The vines may be only 10 years old, but the wine shows plenty of structure and mineral depth. It’s made at Adega Sao Vicente at which Reguinga now consults (since June 2010). If Primeira Paixão is anything to go by, I look forward to seeing (tasting) what happens next!
Primeira Paixão Verdelho 2009 (VQPRD Madeirense) – tangy, fruity and leesy with saline and mineral notes on nose and palate, this has terrific texture, concentration and drive; long, mouthwatering finish. Terrific.