Madeira island news and views.
With a new Joomla! based website Palheiro Property Management have given their clientbase a brand new resource to help administer their properties. The site was developed by Joomla web design specalists ‘Navega Bem‘ based in Funchal on Madeira island.
“-“MUM,” said my daughter, Ellie, 20 minutes after arriving at Reid’s Palace, as she swam around a huge bath. “When I get out the bath I will want my dressing gown and slippers.” Reid’s has turned an ordinary four-year-old into a princess.
After more than a century of catering to elderly European royalty and dinner-jacketed statesmen, this staid old queen of the luxury market has cautiously opened its doors to families.
Being Reid’s, it doesn’t stint on the little extras: children’s bathrobes, slippers, teddy bear soaps (and sweets), colouring pencils, and even a Reid’s teddy on the bed for younger customers.
That fact was made clear to me at breakfast on the first morning, in a stunningly bright and beautiful glass room, when I found that I was in possession of the only child in the hotel.
It was a bit like the scene in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when the children arrive in Vulgaria; a roomful of expensively made-up eyes turned on the child, faces registering at best surprise, at worst downright distaste.
For those who really want their children to experience this sumptuous hotel, I would point out three things. First, the staff will do everything in their power to make you feel comfortable, and they told me there could be up to 40 children there during school holidays, which must change the hotel’s character considerably.
Secondly, Funchal, the town just below the hotel, has a vast range of child-friendly restaurants: try the Regional near the cable car for fish so fresh it was twitching on the ice, or Riso on a cliff top in the old town for traditional rice dishes. And, thirdly, Reid’s has one unique, to-die-for offer: the parent-and-child dual massage in the new candlelit spa, in a massage room with its own terrace and private hot tub overlooking a gently breaking sea.
I had a truly gorgeous treatment – and I’m a fussy customer – combining Thai massage with herbs and heat. I needn’t have feared how Ellie might disrupt it; she is her mother’s daughter. Ten minutes into the “Angel Bliss for Children” she was asleep, bum in the air, and stayed that way until the end, when she woke up protesting that it was boring. “It was a bit calm,” she tried to explain afterwards.
Mimosa in flower – come and visit the stunning Palheiro golf course and see the Mimosa in full bloom.
“It was the stag day of a friend and we took him fishing on the Island of Madeira. Suddenly we were surrounded by dolphins which after a while we plucked up our courage and decided to go in and swim with them. We stayed in the water for over one hour and I took some fantastic photographs with my new camera. It turned out the dolphins were the very rare – ‘rough toothed dolphins’. My pictures were then published in local newspapers and in a new coffee table book promoting Madeira.
The rest of our day was also very eventful….but that’s another story. ”
A long sea journey, extreme temperatures and oxidisation would ruin most wines. But not this one, which travelled from its Portuguese origins and became a coveted cask
If you delve into any subject deep enough, I’m sure you’ll uncover some unlikely stories, and wine is no exception. In fact, with a history of more than 2000 years, it is bound to have many. But a story that must surely rate among the most extraordinary in the wine world is that of madeira.
The premise of madeira production flies in the face of conventional wine science: it’s heated for a long period and deliberately oxidised. And yet for a time, it was one of the most sought-after liquids on earth.
It’s grown on Madeira, a Portuguese island that is hot and humid, and prone to mildew. And the vines there were devastated by the diseases oidium and phylloxera within 25 years. Yet the legend of Madeira lives on, largely due to the extraordinary wines produced there during the island’s vinous golden age.
These days, the popularity of madeira is a fraction ofwhatitonce was.Winedestinedfor cooking has,for the best part of a century, been produced in far greater quantities than the great wines for which the island is famed. But there has been an extensive regrafting program to convert vineyards previously planted with tinta negra mole to the more classic madeira varieties ofverdelho, sercial, bual and malmsey.
Even today, vintage wines are declared. But vintage madeira is a rare beast. It’s only after the promising wines have been aged in a cask for 30 years that the fmal assessment is made. The majority of those ssessed is sent to the blending heap, and only a small portion makes the cut as vintage madeira.
The fIrst madeiras (from the 15th century on) were not fortifIed until the 18th century when brandy was agded to bolster the wines. But it was during the early days that a rigorous sea voyage was found to improve the character of the wines – a practice that is replicated today by the slow cooking of the wines.
The madeira that made the voyage to India and then on to the Americas was considered the fmest.
Casks assumed the name of their ship, their voyage, the grape variety, or the family who stored them.
But as production grew, sea voyages became impractical for all madeira, and the estufa system took their place. The early estufas were glass hothouses that ensured vast temperature fluctuations between day and night. These days, the best wines are cooked in armazem de calor, or storerooms, and gently heated by hot-water pipes. Lesser wines are simply heated by hot pipes in the bottom ofvats.
The real beauty of madeira is in the balance gained through oxidation, the estufa system and age. The oldest I’ve tried was from 1851, but I’ve read of people enjoying wines a century older than that.
The few madeiras that are imported into Australia are blended wines of decent quality but not of the kind that built the madeira legend. The wines that built the legend tend to be rare fmds at auction, or bought through the best British wine merchants.
But Blandy’s and Henriques & Henriques wines do come to Australia and both are considered to be great madeira producers.
A Associação de Promoção da Madeira, em parceria com a Direcção Regional de Turismo, investiu cerca de 400 mil Euros, numa campanha de promoção do destino, nos quatro países nórdicos: Noruega, Finlândia, Dinamarca e Suécia.
A campanha consiste em anúncios de imprensa, em variados formatos, a serem publicados nas principais publicações dos quatro países. Na Dinamarca serão feitas 45 inserções em 7 publicações diferentes, na Suécia 27 inserções em 5 publicações, 19 inserções na Noruega em 5 publicações e 17 inserções na Finlândia em 4 publicações.
Com início a 7 de Setembro, a campanha prosseguirá até final do mês de Novembro.