Taste Madeira wine where it is produced


Madeira wine is appreciated all over the world and through the centuries; drunk by George Washington and referenced by Shakespeare, its 600-year history is still going strong in the Madeira Islands.

When the Madeira Islands were discovered 600 years ago by the Portuguese, they made it a stopover on their way to the Americas, Africa and Asia. But one of the biggest illnesses that could happen to a sailor was scurvy, or lack of vitamin C.

Grape juice became a preferred method of warding off scurvy, so those who settled in Madeira began planting vines to provide sailors with grape juice and wine … which eventually turned into vinegar during of ocean trips lasting several months. With the addition of brandy or rum, Madeira wine was made.

Leftover wine that hadn’t been drunk by sailors began to taste even better after being aged with the addition of tropical heat. Madeira winemakers began to use heat to age their wines by trying to replicate the process, and they found that the best wines start to age in the attic, the hottest parts of a house.

Today, Madeira produces four styles of wine. Dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet and sweet Madeira wines are produced with Secral, Verdelho, Boal and Malvasia grapes. Two others, quite rare, are called Terrantez and Bastardo.

Tinta Negra, a more rustic grape, accounts for 85 percent of the island’s grape production due to its disease resistance and adaptability: it can produce all four styles of wine simply by changing its production method. Depending on the degree of sweetness or dryness of the wine, fermentation can take between 48 hours and ten days. The drier the wine, the longer the fermentation process.

Stronger alcohol, at 96 degrees, is added to stop the fermentation process. Then oxygen and heat are applied to age the wine. This process can take a year, a decade, or even more than a century. Madeira wine, due to its unique production process, will not turn into vinegar after opening, which is why it is considered the most sustainable artificial food product in the world.

Travelers to Madeira can visit eight wineries that offer guided tours, wine tastings and other fun activities to learn about its rich wine history. In September, visitors can enjoy one of the island’s most beloved annual festivals, the Wine Festival, which includes all types of wine production activities like grape picking and trampling, and many more. sure, drinking wine!

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