Tinta Madeira grapes
About two third of the vines in Madeira are of Tinta Madeira grape. The grape was mostly brought into use after the phyllorexa epidemic in the 19th century.
Tinta Madeira was among the very few varieties which survived the incident. This high resistance is another reason why cultivators prefer growing Tinta Madeira grape over other grapes.
In some of the regions it is also known as Negra Mole. Earlier varietals of the wine were found, but now since some new laws have been passed, varietals are very rarely found.
The grape can be found in the blends of a number of wines. Also the yield is of the grape is high.
Even after suffering from the epidemic and the laws made which were not in favour of the grape, it managed to be the most widely planted grape in the Madeira region.
This feature of the grape is appreciable and so the wines made from it must be promoted even more.
After pressing, the juice is kept in wooden barrels for a long time where it undergoes a slow oxidation process.
These barrels are placed in hot rooms. The wine is cooked in the heat of hot room in the day and left to cool down during night. This softens the bitter tannins of the Tinta Madeira grape.
Origin of Tinta Madeira
This leads to its name being kept as Negra Mole, which means dark soft. In 1993 a law was started to contain at least 85% of the grape which is stated on the bottle.
There is still confusion about the variety being the same as the variety with the same name growing on Portuguese mainland.
Also, it is not confirmed whether it is the same variety as Negramoll growing on Spanish owned Canary Islands or not.
Other details about how the grape then brought to Madeira Island or did it originally grew in the area first is still not confirmed.
The cross was made very precisely giving rise to a very important grape variety which became extremely popular in the region!
Features of Tinta Madeira
Tinta Madeira is a high yielding variety of red wine producing grapes. The wines made from the grape have aromas and flavours of red fruits and currants.
The grape produces pale sweet red wines. The acidity of the wines is low. Producers have such huge area growing Tinta Madeira because of its high yield, which saves them from loss, even if some of the vines fail to be as good as expected and because of the high resistance it has which saves it from most of the viticulture hazards.
The grape grows in large bunches which are spread across the vine. The oxidation of the grape juice is very slow.
This gives the wine enough time to soften its tannins and bring out its sweet taste which is the main attraction of the wines.
Dry and off-dry wines made from Tinta Madeira wine grapes can be served with salads or with exotic dishes such as sushi.
It can also go well with savoury tarts. Zucchini fitters are said to taste well with the grapes. If the wines are sweet, it may be served with blue cheese or with nut-based desserts.
It also tastes well with apricot tart. It suits the best with lime pie. You may also consume it with baklava.
It is said to compliment the taste of sweet wines very well. Other sweet dishes which have a prominent flavour can be enjoyed with this white wine variety.
If you want to enjoy the taste of the wine alone, you may do so as the wine does not have such flavours which need to be neutralised with some food items. You can enjoy it with mature hard cheese.
If you visit Madeira you must try wines made from this variety of grapes. This is the most popular varieties in the region and you need to taste the wine to find out the reason for it.
Editor-in-Chief and Wine Writer
Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂