Only in Portugal would a vineyard of 60-80 year-old vines not be considered an estate's oldest vines. But Antonio Madeira, a Frenchman with Portuguese roots and a habit of speaking to the oldest inhabitants of various villages, has been able to acquire fruit from a parcel of vines planted well over a century ago.
A land of unique, indigenous grapes, Portuguese vineyards have traditionally been collected and blended into one wine, a field blend often including dozens of varieties. There are two great joys to drinking Portuguese wines. First, the country's best winemakers remain committed to traditional varieties and, with nary a Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay in sight, the wines are unlike anything else the wine world has to offer. Second, many of the best plots were planted by today's winemakers' parents or grandparents, ensuring tons of concentration and intensity.