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More stunning Madeiras from Barbeito

I’ve written about Madeira, and in particular Barbeito, before – here are my notes on some more of Barbeito’s Madeiras, which are surely at the top of the quality tree. These are fascinating wines that more than justify the relatively high prices they command. It was especially nice to be able to try some older wines.

Barbeito 1996 Single Harvest
This is made from the Tinta Negra Mole grape, and is the follow on from the hugely successful 1995. Lovely intense lemony, spicy nose is quite complex and savoury. The palate is fairly rich and vivid with spicy complexity and great intensity. Sweet but savoury at the same time; brilliant stuff. Very good/excellent 93/100 (about £15 for a half)

Barbeito Sercial Reserve 10 years old
Complex and spicy with a lifted lemony acid edge to the nose. Bright high-acid palate with lovely complexity. Fresh and nutty, vivid and rich. Really nice. Very good/excellent 92/100

Barbeito Boal Reserve Veramar
Slightly shy nutty nose with some subtle spice notes, too. The palate is rich and concentrated and has an unusual acidic edge. Very appealing and with great length. Quite sweet. Very good/excellent 90/100

Barbeito Boal Reserve 10 years old
Rounded, nutty caramel and spice nose is quite restrained. Nutty, open palate with unusual acidity and great concentration. Spicy, long finish. A thoughtful, complex wine that’s quite sweet. Very good/excellent 91/100

Barbeito 20 year old Malvasia
Complex, intriguing nose with nutty, spicy, caramelly notes. The palate is rich and quite sweet with good acidity. Quite powerful with a spicy, raisiny complexity dominating. Great balance and length here. Very good/excellent 94/100

Barbeito Verdelho 1980
Subtle, complex nose of crystalline fruits, spice and lemony lifted acidity. Very unusual complex palate showing high acidity and a nutty, lemony character. Interesting stuff. Very good/excellent 92/100

Barbeito Verdelho 1981 (cask sample)
Very complex intense, spicy nose with notes of tar, spice, caramel and fudge. The palate has lovely rich complexity with high acidity in an explosive mouthful of flavour. Quite lovely. Excellent 95/100

Barbeito Malvasia 1994 (cask sample)
This will be a single cask release. Very sweet spicy, toffee and caramel nose. Complex, sweet and spicy on the palate with some raisiny notes and good acidity. Nice spiciness. A rich, complex style. Very accessible with some woody notes. Very good/excellent 92/100

Barbeito Malvasia 1885
Orange brown. Lovely complex nose of sweet raisins, tar and spice – very beguiling. The palate is explosively rich with lovely acidity. Deep, complex and incredibly long with some caramel and spice. Breathtaking. Excellent 98/100

Barbeito Malvasia 1886
Profound, intense nose of tar and spice with some caramelly notes. The palate is explosively rich with great concentration, high acidity and complex flavours of caramel and tar. Great length. Excellent 96/100

UK agent: Raymond Reynolds   
wines tasted May 2004

see also: spotlight on Madeira; Barbeito write up 1; Barbeito write up 2

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