I got invited to a Madeira wine tasting a few weeks ago. Madeira? I realized I didn’t know much about this type of wine. I went to the tasting and attended the seminar and educated myself all about Madeira. Madeira is very versatile and pairs well with many foods. I was surprised.

I’m going to give you 7 facts about Madeira and at the end is a podcast that will give you a better understanding of this wine from the seminar I attended with Bruno Almeida, Sommelier and Portuguese Wine Ambassador.I hope you learn as much as I did, and give Madeira a try.

7 Facts About Madeira Wine

  • Madeira is a Portuguese island located off the coast of Africa. The wine produced on the island has the same name – Madeira.
  • When Madeira wine is made using the Estufagem method, the wine can never be bottled and sold before the October 31 of the second year following the harvest.
  • Wines made in the Canteiro method (fortified during or right after fermentation and aged in wood cask) can’t be sold until at least three years from January 1st following the harvest.
  • Grapes used to produce Madeira
    • Sercial
    • Verdelho
    • Boal
    • Malvasia
    • Terrantez
  • Madeira wines are classified Dry, Medium Dry, Medium Rich (sweet), Rich (sweet)
    • Madeira Dry is made with the Sercial grape.
    • Madeira Medium Dry is made with the Verdelho grape.
    • Madeira Medium Rich is made with the Boal grape.
    • Madeira Rich wine is made with the Terrantez grape.
  • Designations of Madeira Wine
    • Frasqueira – produced by the Canteiro system,referenced by vintage year and aged 20 years in wood.
    • Colheita – indication of vintage year and aged in wood at least 5 years.
    • Canteiro – Fortified during or right after fermentation. Aged in wood a minimum of 2 years. Can’t be subject to the heating production process, nor bottled aged with less than 3 years beginning with January 1 of the year following the harvest.
    • Reserve (Old) – 5 years old.
    • Old Reserve (Very Old) 10 years old.
    • Extra Reserve – 15 years old.
    • Selected, Choice ou Finest – Showing special quality for the age of the wine.
    • Fine – Perfect balance in freshness of the acids and the aromas evolving with the aging in wood.
      • Solera – produced by the Canteiro system and whose base wine is from only one harvest and aged in oak for 5 years.
    • Rainwater – This wine will be pale to golden in color. The Baume degree (sugar content) will be between 1.0 and 2.5 and aged no longer than 10 years.
  • Store Madeira wine upright
    • Bottling date is always listed on the bottle.

All About Madeira with Bruno Almeida - Podcast