Barbeito Rainwater Reserva Madeira
Made from 80% Tinta Negra, Rainwater Madeira gets its name from the rather romantic story of some madeira casks left out in the rain before shipping, which eventually absorbed into the wood and contributed to the style. This one from Barbeito is aged for 5 years in French oak casks at a stable temperature to produce a medium dry wine with plenty of balancing acid to prevent it from being cloying. Best served at about 12C, will keep for months after opening, as with all Madeiras, due to the fortification and heating process they undergo. Golden colour with aromas of nuts, caramel, dried fruit - perfect served with salted nuts, tapas, olives and cheeses.
Barbeito was founded in 1946, and current winemaker Ricardo Diogo de Freitas took over in 1993. He's been looked upon as a bit of a pioneer - producing single cask bottlings, not colouring with caramel, shipping with sail power etc. In reality, these are just traditional methods that are being revived, and his Madeira is all the better for it. They invest heavily in the production of quality grapes, and all of the heating and ageing takes place in barrels in naturally hot attics, a method known as Canteiro. This is a longer and more costly process than its alternative (known as Estufa, where the process is sped up in heated tanks), but makes all the difference. If you think Madeira is just for cooking with, think again and try these. Not only can you pair them with pretty much anything, but once opened they are pretty much indestructible.
80% Tinta Negra, 20% Verdelho
19%, 500ml, NV