Ahh, Madeira wine … the cheaper stuff is an essential ingredient in any serious kitchen cupboard for all sorts of sauces and gravies and the good stuff represents, undoubtedly, some of the finest fortified wine in the world.
Madeira, however, has also long been producing table wines, but it is only over the last decade or so that they have started to be taken seriously.
Today, a small selection of non-fortified wines from Madeira can be found here in the Algarve at the Apolónia supermarkets, amongst them this Ilha 2018 red by winemaker Diana Silva.
The grape variety, Tinta Negra, is widely used in the production of fortified Madeira wine but, when produced as a red, it results in a wine that has remarkably similar characteristics to the Algarve’s indigenous variety Negra Mole, to the extent that I wonder if they are variations of the same grape.
Anyway, if, like me, you appreciate light-bodied red wines in the Pinot Noir style, this wine from Madeira will come as just as pleasant a surprise as many of the excellent Negra Mole wines made here in the Algarve.
The wine presents a violet hue in the glass with ripe red fruit on the nose along with notes of rose petals and a touch of oak; medium bodied and fresh in the mouth with good depth of flavour and a nice dry finish.
The price may be a little-keen at €24.95, but it is from a small production and well worth a try, if only to experience something different from Madeira.