Terras do Avo
One of my principles when travelling is to try whatever is local - when a lunch at the Quinta do Furão offered me the opportunity to try a table wine from Madeira, I had to give it a go.
If Madeira's eponymous fortified wines have fallen into relative obscurity these days, a table wine from this Atlantic holiday isle counts as a leftfield wine from a leftfield region.
I chose the red to go with a traditional Madeiran skewer of beef.
Made on the wetter, northern side of the island from mostly the usual international grapes, with some port grapes thrown in, it has of course no Madeiran typicity, because there is no such thing for table wines.
With pure dark fruit and fresh acidity, it reminds me a little of the juicy, modern-style red wines from another Iberian island - Mallorca. A more mainstream analogy would be a good Beaujolais.
It proves a very enjoyable wine, cutting through the garlicky, smoky, char-grilled meat and, sitting on the veranda gazing out along the rocky Madeiran coastline, it makes perfect sense.
The sommelier tells me that it is the only Madeiran table wine they feel is good enough to include on their list; a bit of internet research reveals that the winery was started in 2008 as family concern and that this is their entry-level wine - with something more ambitious produced only in great years.
If it is more remarkable for what it is than for what it tastes like, that is not to belittle the quality but to highlight the rarity of a Madeira table wine.
Black cherries, dark plums and cigar box, fresh acidity - very clean, very adept. Good.
Contact details - should you need them
Sociedade Duarte Caldeira e Filhos – Seixal Wines, Lda.
Sede: Sitio do Lombinho – Seixal, 9 270 – 125 Porto Moniz
Tel: (+351) 965 013 168(Duarte Caldeira) | (+351) 964 008 001 (Sofia Caldeira)
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Another Madeiran wine, recommended by Ryan and Gabriella Opaz: https://www.facebook.com/Catavino/photos/ms.c.eJxVy7kNADAIA8CNIowxz~;6LRSlS0J50MMin2lQCLXTwpRyxhMrxXpKmLUlSb10mRBHx.bps.a.10152968502248045.1073741828.6393118044/10152978072143045/?type=1&theater