Of the hundreds of families who’ve produced and shipped Madeira over the past two centuries, only four remain: Blandy, Borges, D’Oliveira and Barbeito.

The first three of these are proud survivors from the nineteenth century—their legacy insured by having stockpiled old vintages during the Phylloxera epidemic of the 1870s.

The Barbeitos, on the other hand, entered the business much later, in 1946. Yet, their accomplishment is nearly as great, given not only the number of firms that have since vanished, but the fact that they entered the business during a particularly dark time for Madeira.

During World War II, production and sales had ground to a virtual halt. The U.S. market disappeared because of a government ban on poorly made Portuguese glass bottles. And for six years, marauding U-boats made it nearly impossible to ship wine to Madeira’s most important market, the United Kingdom.

Looking Ahead

As a result, far more companies were leaving the business than were joining. But Mario Barbeito had faith in the future. He also believed—just as Charles Ridpath Blandy, H.M. Borges and João D’Oliveira had done decades earlier—that the value of great Madeira could only go up as it became older, and production of young vintages declined. And so, a former accountant, Barbeito went around the island buying substantial stocks of priceless old vintages from important families.

Barbeito saw those vintage wines as a nest egg for the future, and he was content to let the wines age. He wisely built the business in the early years around more modest Madeiras. It was left to his daughter Manuela—when she gradually took over the business from him in the 1970s—to begin selling her father's priceless old vintages.

Thanks to her efforts, now-famous Barbeito wines like 1795 Terrantez, 1834 and 1875 Malvasia, and 1863 Bual began to make regular appearances at auction in London. This built a lasting reputation for the Barbeito name among Madeira collectors.

Ricardo Freitas

In the early 1990s, Manuela Barbeito began to turn over the reins of the company to her son, Ricardo Freitas. Armed with a history degree from the University of Lisbon, Ricardo not only brought a deep respect for Madeira's classical roots, but he also brought new energy and new ideas to the company. One of these ideas was to restore the role that Madeira once had as a companion to food.

Ricardo also joined with The Rare Wine Co. to create our pioneering Historic Series Madeiras, which have pumped enormous new vitality into the once-vibrant American market for Madeira.

Of course, Ricardo is continuing his grandfather's and mother’s legacy of sourcing great old wines and preserving them for future generations. But he is also creating his own legacy: a series of Madeiras he calls his "Signature" wines.

These handcrafted wines combine the best elements of Madeira’s classical tradition with Ricardo’s own quest for purity and vineyard and varietal expression. Made in tiny lots, their astonishingly graceful style has prompted British wine critic Jancis Robinson to call Barbeito the “Lafite of Madeira.”

Wines by this Producer

Description Notes Avail/
Limit
Price
NV Barbeito Barbeito Ribeiro Real Tinta Negra 20-year-old Medium Sweet Madeira 3 $175.00 add
NV Barbeito Bastardo 20-year-old Medium Sweet Lot 1 Madeira SP94
RDV96
JG94
2 $225.00 add
NV Barbeito Bual 20-year-old Madeira Ribeiro Real 3 $195.00 add
NV Barbeito Bual 50-year-old Garrafoes do Ribeiro Real Madeira JROB20/20 1 $695.95 add
1882 Barbeito Bual MMV Madeira (bottled from demijohn 2023) 1 $1,500.00 add
1910 Barbeito Bual Madeira 2 $945.00 add
1912 Barbeito Bual Madeira (MBV, stenciled) 1 $950.00 add
1946 Barbeito Bual Madeira (stenciled) 1 $750.00 add
2008 Barbeito Bual Vinha da Torre Campanario Single Cask 22E Madeira 500 mL 6 $54.95 add
2005 Barbeito Bual Vinha do Charlot Jardim Pelado Madeira 500 mL 12 $59.95 add
NV Barbeito Familias 50-year-old Medium Sweet Madeira JROB20/20 1 $675.00 add
NV Barbeito Malvasia 20-year-old Madeira RM96
WOFW94
JROB19.5
6 $165.00 add
NV Barbeito Malvasia 20-year-old Madeira (2010 Bottling) NM93 2 $245.00 add
NV Barbeito Malvasia 20-year-old Madeira Ribeiro Real 2 $195.00 add
1990 Barbeito Malvasia Candida Faja dos Padres Madeira 500 mL 2 $425.00 add
2001 Barbeito Malvasia Candida Faja dos Padres Madeira SP96
RDV94
JG92
3 $295.00 add
NV Barbeito Malvasia Candida Faja dos Padres Reserva Especial Madeira 500 mL SP97
JROB19
AG93
6 $95.00 add
2006 Barbeito Malvasia Candida Single Cask 400 d+e Madeira 500 mL 3 $64.95 add
1988 Barbeito Sercial Manuel Eugenio Fernandes Madeira NJ97
SP95
RDV97
3 $245.00 add
2008 Barbeito Tinta Negra Vinha das Mantas Single Cask 198 E Madeira 500 mL 6 $54.95 add
NV Barbeito Verdelho 20-year-old Madeira Ribeiro Real (Bottled 2023) 6 $149.95 add
1885 Barbeito Verdelho MBV Madeira (bottled 2023) ST95 2 $1,450.00 add
1898 Barbeito Verdelho Madeira (bottled from demijohn 2023) 1 $1,050.00 add
1981 Barbeito Verdelho Manuel Eugenio Fernandes Madeira SP96
RDV95
JG94
6 $295.00 add
NV RWC Manuela Barbeito Demijohns Malvasia Special Reserve Madeira WK100
WK100

Read Notes
1 $1,295.00 add
2022 Barbeito Verdelho Branco Vinhas do Lanco [dry white table wine] JG90 12 $39.95 add

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