Madeira trophy winner: D'Oliveiras Boal 1980

Wine news

Fri 26 Feb 2021

By Stuart Peskett

D'Oliveiras is one of the most historic and respected Madeira producers. Its cellars on this famed Atlantic island date all the way back to 1619, and it is the only producer that owns fortified wine from as far back as the mid-19th century that is still available to buy.

Incredibly, the company didn’t export any of its Madeira until the 1970s, preferring to sell exclusively to those who lived on the island. But the decision was made to widen the net, and D'Oliveiras’ reputation was soon sealed across the world.

The company is also known for its distinctive packaging – every bottle is hand-painted by an all-female team, just as it was 100 years ago, meaning that no two bottles look exactly alike.

The D'Oliveiras Madeira that wowed the IWSC judges this year was its single-vintage Boal bottling from 1980, made from the medium-sweet Bual grape (Bual is the anglicised version of Boal), which is sweeter than Sercial and Verdelho but not as sweet as Malmsey/Malvasia.

This delicious fortified wine scored 95/100pts, and the judges were hugely complimentary: “Glorious, abundant nose of buttery caramel, dried figs and hazelnut nougat. Generous lashings of Seville orange marmalade, dried dates and candied walnuts are cut through by puckering acidity and underpinned by a lusciously full mouthfeel, making for a seriously stylish wine.”

We caught up with owner Luis D’Oliveiras to find out more about this incredibly long-lived fortified wine.


D'Oliveiras also won the IWSC Madeira trophy in 2019

Tell us about your history and background

Pereira D’Oliveira is an independent and family-owned company dedicated to the production, marketing and export of Madeira. The company is currently run by Luís D’Oliveira, responsible for marketing, export and innovation, and by Filipe D'Oliveira, who has been in charge of production and oenology since 2002. Our winemakers have always been family members, who from a very young age have acquired knowledge and experience from the previous generation to ensure the continuity of the house and preserve its identity.

How did you get into wine?

My relationship with Madeira began in the summer holidays during my time at school, where I helped in the warehouses of my grandparents. But only after completing military service, at the age of 26, did I return to Madeira and devote myself exclusively to the company. It was a decision I made which I do not regret; if I went back in time, I would do it again!

What is your winemaking philosophy?

Since the foundation of our oldest family firm in 1850, the winemaking has been always performed by a member of our family. For this reason, it has been possible for successive generations to follow their work methodology, deep knowledge and long experience. The house style of our Madeira is an almost impossible concentration, a sense of weight and intensity, an unbelievable density and a vigorously intense finish.

Read more: Best five Madeira to drink now