Madeira

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About

A fortified Portuguese red wine that is served as an appetif or dessert wine . It is also added to sauces and reduced to accompany red meat.

Information

Other names: madere
Translations: Μαδέρα, Madera, الماديرا, Madère, マデイラ, 마데이라, Madera, Madera, Мадера, Madeyra, מדיירה, Мадера, 马德拉, Мадера, Мадейра

Physical Description

Madeira is a fortified Portuguese wine made in the Madeira Islands. The wine is produced in a variety of styles ranging from dry wines which can be consumed on their own as an aperitif, to sweet wines more usually consumed with dessert.

Colors: tawny

Tasting Notes

Flavors: sweet,dry
Mouthfeel: Sweet and thick
Food complements: Beef, Beef broth, Gorgonzola, Swiss type cheeses, Tomatoes, Pork, Duck, Chocolate
Beverage complements: Sparkling water
Substitutes: Port, Red wine

Selecting and Buying

Choosing: Since 1993, Madeira that is produced from Tinta Negra Mole are legally restricted to use generic terms on the label to indicate the level of sweetness as seco (dry), meio seco (medium dry), meio doce (medium sweet) and doce (sweet). The terms pale, dark, full and rich can also be included to describe the wine's color. A wine labeled as Finest, means that it has been aged for at least 3 years. This style is usually reserved for cooking. Wines made from at least 85% of the noble varieties of Sercial, Verdelho, Bual and Malmsey are usually labeled based on the amount of time that they were aged.Wines with Solera listed were made in a style similar to Sherry with fractional blending of wines from different vintages in a solera system.
Buying: Maderia is available in some grocery stores and liquor stores. Sometimes a "cooking" wine version is available at grocers that do not sell alcohol.
Procuring: There are four major types of Madeira, named according to the grape variety used. Ranging from the sweetest to the driest style they are: Malvasia (also known as Malmsey or Malvazia), Bual (or Boal), Verdelho, and Sercial.

Conserving and Storing

To prevent the wine from spoiling, neutral grape spirits were added. On the long sea voyages, the wines would be exposed to excessive heat and movement which transformed the flavor of the wine as the wine producers of Madeira found out when an unsold shipment of wine returned to the islands after a round trip. Madeira is a very robust wine that can be quite long lived even after being opened

Social/Political

The islands of Madeira have a long winemaking history dating back to the Age of Exploration when Madeira was a standard port of call for ships heading to the New World or East Indies.

History: The roots of Madeira's wine industry dates back to the Age of Exploration when Madeira was a regular port of call for ships travelling to the New World and East Indies. By the 16th century, records indicate that a well-established wine industry on the island was able to supply these ships with wine for the long voyages across the sea. The earliest examples of Madeira, like Port, were unfortified and had the habit of spoiling at sea. Following the example of Port, a small amount of distilled alcohol made from cane sugar was added to stabilize the wine by boosting the alcohol content. (The modern process of fortification using brandy did not become wide spread till the 18th century). The Dutch East India Company became a regular customer, picking up large (112 gal/423 l) casks of wine known as pipes for their voyages to India. The intense heat and constant movement of the ships had a transforming effect on the wine, as discovered by Madeira producers when one shipment was returned to the island after a long trip. It was found that the customer preferred the taste of this style of wine and Madeira labeled as vinho da roda (wines that have made a round trip) became very popular. Madeira producers found that aging the wine on long sea voyages was very costly and began to develop methods on the island to produce the same aged and heated style. They began storing the wines on trestles at the winery or in special rooms known as estufas where the heat of island sun would age the wine

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