true liquid gold, as old and as rich as the many centuries of Portuguese colonization of the island..., gentle and smooth, inebriatingly seductive, mysterious and sensual, the elixir that deities suckle from, not the drink that mere mortals can bear...

  -  António Batalha Reis
   (Famous Portuguese scientist)
The Glorious Malvasia Cândida
The Malvasia is as classic as Madeira Wines Come. Also known as “Malmsey” by the British.
There are wine collections today that attribute the extraordinary value to it because of some cases, or even the few bottles, of Malvasia: especially the Malvasia Cândida. The Malvasia Cândida was, as mentioned before, the first vines to be planted on Madeira. But the vines have not held the greatest favour in wine growers in recent decades, especially at the turn of the century. The irony is that this was the cultivar that instigated the wealth of Madeira Wine fame we have today.
Only in 1940 did Dermot Francis Bolger, heir to the First Countess of “Torre Bela”, a Portuguese title now defunct, replant the vine from clippings of perhaps, at that time, one of the last Malvasia plants existing from the first ancient varieties planted in Madeira. The rescue operation was carried out in the replant in Estreito de Câmara de Lobos and now flourishes whence it could have been carelessly lost to extinction.
A prize bottle of Malvasia, or Malmsey as the English would call it

The incredible situation of the nearly lost Malvasia Cândida vines arose after the viscious hacking by Colonel Manuel J. de França Doria, owner of the lands that mostly grew this variety, to replace it with the more profitable sugarcane, circa 1930, in the area of Fajã dos Padres. The name of the area, Fajã dos Padres (floor of the Priests), is attributed to the Jesuit Priests that cultivated the very vines on this south western coastal enclave near Quinta Grande.

They had carefully nurtured and weaned the Malvasia Cândida such that it would become probably the most sought after of the Vintage Malvasia Wines today. Some bottles reaching astronomical prices in auctions. The Malvasia produced at the turn of the century by the Jesuits Priests is considered the Prince of all Madeira Wine production. Only the Terrantez, an old produce not in strong plantation anymore, could match or exceed the values Malvasia Cândida could and can achieve.


Bjelkaroy & Barbosa, Lda 1997/8 - Design Limbo