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Madeira wine, taste the island

Madeira is also known for the famous wine which is drunk whole around the world: the Madeira Wine (or Madera wine). Across the island there are many vineyards to be found. The wine is made ​​from a grape called the "Tinta Negra" and has four types of taste from dry to sweet Sercial (dry), Verdelho (medium dry), Bual (medium sweet) and Malmsey (sweet).

Madeira wine has definitely made the island even more popular not just within Portugal but also in other parts of the world. This wine is also referred to as fortified wine. It is perfect not just as a drink during meals or while relaxing but it can also be used as an ingredient for cooking.

What makes this wine so popular? It is the careful creation and tedious process which makes this wine much more delicious than other white wines. It is not just the type of grapes used that is cautiously hand-picked. Even the containers for fermentation have to be precisely right.

One thing that is unique about this white wine is that it is actually subjected to heat. Other types of wine would be instantly ruined the moment that it is subjected to high temperature, especially if it takes a long time. For this type of wine, it is heated between 100 °F to 140 °F. This lasts for several months. The cooking process is done so that the wine would oxidize. In Portuguese, this process is called as Estufagem. Interestingly, instead of ruining the taste, the heat brings out the flavor and aroma even more.

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Madeira Wine’s Varying Taste

Each type corresponds to a certain taste for the end product. Among the options include doce (sweet), seco (dry) or meio doce (medium sweetness).

  • Malmsey is the perfect option for those who want their wine to be sweet. Because of its rich and full flavor, this is the best companion for desserts like cakes and pastries. It blends perfectly with the taste of cheesecakes and dark chocolate cakes.
  • To subdue the sweetness a little bit, Bual is the right pick. This is the semi-sweet type of Madeira wine. It goes well with desserts too, particularly the ones that are caramel-based.
  • On the other hand, Verdelho is a variant that is semi-dry. It is often served along with appetizers to activate the taste buds before the main course.
  • The driest type of Madeira wine is the Sercial. This is preferred as an aperitif and drank along with soups, broth or salty food like walnuts and almonds.

Classification According to Age

When buying Madeira wine, it can be noticed that the price can significantly vary. This is not necessarily because they are harvested and made in different vineyards. It is because the age of the wine makes it increase in value.

There are five major levels of classification according to age. These are:

  • Finest—Wines which have been aged for three years are labeled as such.
  • Reserve—These are the ones which are five years of age.
  • Special Reserve—The creation process took 10 years.
  • Extra Reserve—The aging process for the wine lasted for 15 years.
  • Vintage—These have to be certified that the wine is at least 20 years or more. Plus it should be bottled for at least 2 years.

The older bottles of the Madeira wine are more expensive. That is because, the added age of the wine enhances its taste. When buying this type of wine, it is best to carefully look at the certification and authentication for the age. This is important especially for the vintage bottles. The price for such is no joke, so it is a must to ensure that the bottle being sold is an authenticated vintage Madeira wine.

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