Barbeito Single Cask 119 B+E Colheita Canteiro Verdelho 2000
A steep, volcanic island in the Atlantic Ocean that rises to over 6,000 feet at its highest point, Madeira actually sits closer to Morocco than Portugal, the country to which it belongs.
Today the vineyards of the island cover tiny step-like terraces called poios, carved from the basalt bedrock. Aptly named Madeira, this fortified wine comes in two main styles. Blended Madeira is mostly inexpensive wine but there are a few remarkable aged styles. Single varietal Madeira (made from Sercial, Verdelho, Boal or Malmsey), is usually the highest quality and has the potential to improve in the bottle for decades.
A significant grape in Madeira but capable of making a delightful Portugese dry white as well, Verdelho wines have a bright acidity and lovely lemon, pineapple and apple fruit qualities. Verdelho is great as an aperitif wine and as a pairing with raw fish and oysters.
While many less expensive Madeira wines can be blends of different years or grapes, including Verdelho, single-varietal Madeira represent the highest quality versions that also have long aging capacities. Sercial, Boal, Malmsey and Verdelho are the best Madeira grapes. Of the four, Verdelho is the most concentrated and smoky. It is dry, intense, spicy and is flexible in food pairings. Try it with potato leek soup or lobster bisque.