Tinta Negra Mole
Tinta Negra Mole is by far the most widely planted grape variety on the Portuguese island of Madeira and yet, it is critically the most maligned. Practicality is seldom synonymous with high quality.
Indeed, Tinta Negra Mole was introduced as a high-yielding red skinned substitute for plantings of the more noble Sercial, Bual, Verdelho and Malvasia, ravaged by downy mildew and phylloxera during the late 19th century. Nevertheless, the variety is vinifera rather than the usual crosses and/or hybrids that have been frequently introduced to combat threats to volume and livelihoods, from the Old World to the New.
While Tinta Negra Mole remains in the qualitative shadow of the other varieties, its capacity for producing plenty of commercially viable sweet must, sees it fortified and expedited through the estufagem, or traditional heating process, with minimal barrel ageing. Tinta Negra Mole's wines are then adjusted for colour, sweetness and acidity, to provide eminently drinkable and largely, inexpensive wines.