Tuesday, October 10th, 2013 at Bar Boulud, New York, New York

By the time Barbeito founder Mario Barbeito passed away in 1985, his daughter Manuela had not only taken over his business responsibilities, she had also become the firm’s winemaker—something that, to this today, is still nearly unheard for a woman in Madeira.

In fact, looking back over the past 200 years, only Eugenia Bianchi Henriques had so commanding a female presence on the Madeira wine scene, and her legacy still lives on with the great 19th century “EBH” Madeiras. There can be little question that Manuela Barbeito was the Madeira wine trade’s most important woman of the 20th century.

On October 10th, her son Ricardo Freitas joined us for a special dinner at Bar Boulud in New York. The dinner commemorated his release of an 40-year-old Malvasia Madeira in her honor.

On this special evening, he and I paid tribute to Manuela Barbeito as master blender, wine sleuth and doyenne of the Madeira wine trade—and for inspiring Ricardo to become the winemaker whom Neal Martin has called  “Madeira’s Game Changer” (Neal Martin) and to make Barbeito, in the words of Jancis Robinson, "the Lafite of Madeira.”

We explored a wide range of rare Madeiras that are associated with Manuela Barbeito. Included was the first Madeira Ricardo ever made (in 1992), learning at his mother’s knee. And we also tasted his stunning 40-year-old Malvasia, an homage to his mother.

The Evening’s Main Event

But the crown jewels of the evening was a series of never-before-seen, nearly extinct Madeiras that only survive in her collection. Several will had been decanted from demijohn just for this dinner.

Included were such rarities as an 1887 Malvasia, an 1892 Bual, a pair of turn-of-the-century Sercials (from 1902 and 1904), and three ancient blends Manuela Barbeito made for her own pleasure in 1989, ranging in age from 50 to 90 years old (at the time of blending). It is highly unlikely that we will ever have the opportunity to taste any of these wines again.

And as a very special treat, we got to taste Barbeito’s legendary 1863 Bual and 1834 Malvasia, bottled for this dinner directly from demijohns that remained in Senhora Barbeito’s cellar.

All the wines were paired with a menu prepared for us by Bar Boulud Executive Chef Olivier Quignon.

Related Products

Description Notes Avail/
1960 Barbeito Bual Madeira (MBV, stenciled) ST95 1 $595.00 add
1982 Barbeito Bual Madeira JROB18.5/20 2 $249.95 add
1995 Barbeito Bual Madeira (stenciled) 6 $145.00 add
2008 Barbeito Canteiro Single Harvest Medium Dry Madeira 500 mL 12 $39.95 add
NV Barbeito Malvasia 20-year-old Madeira (2018 Release) 6 $159.95 add
NV Barbeito Malvasia 20-year-old Madeira (2014 Release) JG92 6 $175.00 add
1986 Barbeito Malvasia Candida Faja dos Padres Madeira 3 $395.00 add
1990 Barbeito Malvasia Candida Faja dos Padres Madeira 500 mL 3 $295.00 add
1953 Barbeito Malvasia Favilla Vieira Madeira (bottled 4/2013) 1 $595.00 add
1954 Barbeito Malvasia Madeira (Bottled 4/2011) AG95 1 $595.00 add
2005 Barbeito Malvasia Single Cask 83 Madeira 500 mL 6 $49.95 add
1910 Barbeito Sercial Madeira (stenciled) NM97
1 $845.00 add
1988 Barbeito Sercial Manuel Eugenio Fernandes Madeira NJ97 6 $245.00 add
1993 Barbeito Sercial Manuel Eugenio Fernandes Madeira 6 $225.00 add
NV Barbeito Tinta Negra 20-year-old Medium Sweet Madeira Ribeiro Real 12 $165.00 add
1996 Barbeito Tinta Negra Colheita Medium Sweet Madeira Ribeiro Real (Medium Sweet) 4 $125.00 add
1926 Barbeito Verdelho Madeira (bottled 03/2010) ST95 1 $645.00 add
1994 Barbeito Verdelho Manuel Eugenio Fernandes Madeira 6 $225.00 add
2018 Barbeito Verdelho [dry white table wine] 12 $25.95 add

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Wine barrels in a cellar

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