Honestly, it is not ruined

I have said before that Barbeito colheitas are the cutting edge of Madeira cool and this one demonstrates that admirably. This is made by the traditional ‘canteiro’ process (it is matured in a warm warehouse rather than being heated artificially) and is not coloured with caramel. The back label tells us this cask was at a cooler edge of the warehouse which supposedly results in a more elegant wine.

Malvasia Colheita Cask 18a 1994, Barbeito

The colour is quite light orange-brown. The nose displays all of the weird aromas of decent Madeira but it has a lightness to it; it is not aggressively rancid or chemical. There is also some candied orange fruit there. The palate is also remarkably light for a Madeira; certainly full of flavour but not thick and heavy. The note on the back label was right, this does seem elegant compared to other Barbeitos I’ve had. It is very complex and very long. This is very stylish and very satisfying. Cool Madeira!

As an aside, these single cask Barbeito Madeiras occasionally turn up in Fortnum and Mason. My last conversation with the Barbeito agent suggested they’d be getting some new stuff in soon. At less than twenty notes for an imp bottle these are serious wines at bargain prices.