Tinta Negra from Leacock

The Tinta Negra grape (formerly known as Tinta Negra Mole) accounts for nearly 90 per cent of the production of Madeira wine and yet only since 2013 has  it been permitted as a varietal on the label. The Madeira Wine Company, which includes Blandy, Cossart Gordon and Miles among its brands, has recently bottled two Tinta Negra wines under the Leacock label.   More detailed information on this grape variety can be found in my book Madeira, the Islands and their Wines, but suffice to say that it is far from being an ‘also ran’ against the so called ‘noble grapes’ (Sercial, Verdelho, Bual, Malvasia and Terrantez) that get the main billing on the island. 

Leacock’s Colheita 2001 Tinta Negra ***/****

Aged for 16 years in well-seasoned American oak before bottling: rich and honeyed on the nose with a touch of bolo de mel / parkin character; spicy butterscotch richness on the palate, very sweet in style perhaps lacking the streak of lively acidity that you might expect from Bual or the Malvasias.  2,232 50cl bottles released. 16.5 

Leacock’s Frasqueira 1995 Tinta Negra ****

‘Vintage madeira’ in all but name, aged for 22 years in well-seasoned American oak prior to bottling in 2017: mid-amber / mahogany; orange peel on the nose, slightly smoked with a touch of rancio; caramelised orange, rich and full in style with a hint of savoury hickory, quite complex with a lovely streak of acidity if not all that elegant on the finish: big and bold with bitter-sweet astringency. 17.5      

Scoring

19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)

17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)

15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)

13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)

10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)

8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)

Below 8 Faulty