Dating back to 1820, Pereira d’Oliveira is one of the great old Madeira houses and is still owned by the same family. They are based in an attractive white building that was the former high school of the Jesuit College.
I visited as part of a large group and this was very much a tourist experience. We were quickly hustled into our places and staff appeared with glasses of Madeira. We tasted three different Madeiras – medium dry, medium sweet and sweet. The sweet was accompanied by a tiny piece of ‘proper’ Madeira cake which is nothing like that eaten in England. Made from sugar cane syrup it is a lot darker and also has some fruit and almond nuts. It is more like a light fruit cake.
Glasses were generous but there was no attempt to tell us anything about the different wines or how they are made. We had hardly finished the last sample before being hurried out to make way for the next group to arrive.
There are toilets but be prepared to queue! The only way you would have had chance to buy any wines was by missing out on part of the tasting.
It was chance to sample different Madeiras, but that was all. May be this place needs to be visited independently – but make sure you avoid the arrival of large groups as it was very busy the day we visited with a steady stream of groups passing through.