Where is Madeira wine from?
From the island of Madeira, which belongs to Portugal.
Where is the island of Madeira?
- ~600 miles from Portugal in the Atlantic Ocean
- ~300 miles off the coast of Morocco
Why was Madeira an important island in terms of shipping?
It was a regular pit stop for ships departing Europe on their way to the Americas and beyond, and on their return home.
The Madeira wine that was boarded onto these ships was very different from the resulting wine after the ships had traveled far and even crossed the Equator.
What happened to the wine?
The wine was repeatedly heated during the day and cooled at night, and as heat gradually intensified as the ships approached the Equator, the wine was “cooked.”
This is how Madeira wine developed its unique flavor and character.
What is the climate of Madeira?
What is the landscape of Madeira?
How’d it get this way?
Volcanic activity created the island, and it sharply juts out of the sea (kind of like Hawaii).
What is the soil of Madeira?
What are the 4 white grapes of Madeira, and what are the styles of wine they’re made into?
- Sercial - made dry
- Verdelho - made off-dry
- Boal - made semi-sweet
- Malvasia / Malmsey - made sweet
What is the 1 red grape of Madeira?
What is the most planted grape on Madeira?
It accounts for 85% of all plantings
Where are the vineyards on Madeira planted?
Steep, terraced hillsides
On Madeira, grapes are always harvested:
- by hand
- by machine
The terraces and hillsides are way too steep to harvest by machine.
When is Madeira fortified?
It depends on the style that’s being made
- Boal + Malmsey (sweeter) = during fermentation
- Sercial + Verdelho (drier) = after fermentation
Boal + Malmsey, the sweeter styles of Madeira, are fortified _____ fermentation.
DURING fermentation so that the wine keeps its natural grape sugars.
Sercial + Verdelho, the drier styles of Madeira, are fortified _____ fermentation.
After Madeira wines are fortified, what’s the next step?
Heating it, to mimic the hot days and Equator-like conditions that turned the wine into what it is.
What are the 2 heating processes that “cook” the Madeira after it’s been fortified?
- Estufagem - used for inexpensive wines
- Canteiro - used for premium wines
Describe the Estufagem process.
- Fortified wines are transferred to an estufa, which is a large stainless steel tank that has coils in its walls that circulate hot water around the tank;
- The tank is heated to ~120ºF and is held at that temperature for at least 3 months;
- The wine comes down in temperature, rests for at least 3 more months, then goes into casks for aging;
- This process, known as maderization, caramelizes any remaining sugars and oxidizes the wine while it was being “cooked.”
Describe the Canteiro process.
- After fortification the wines are put into oak casks for at least 2 years;
- The casks are in hot attics which are not temperature controlled, so this more natural process of heating and cooling is closer to how the wine developed on ships;
- The Canteiro process takes longer than the Estufagem process.
Most Madeira wines are:
- single vintage, single vineyard
- blended across vineyards and vintages
Blended across vineyards and vintages
What are the typical age indications for Maderia?
- 5 years old
- 10 years old
- 15 years old
- 20 years old
TRUE or FALSE:
The name of the grape on a bottle of Madeira indicates if it’s a drier style or a sweeter style.
- Sercial + Verdelho are drier (fortified after fermentation)
- Boal + Malmsey are sweeter (fortified during fermentation)
- Tinta Negra is rarely found on labels, but it can be made into a dry or sweet style