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Origin: Island of Madeira, Portugal. Records show that Madeira has been produced since the 15th century. The grapes used for Madeira are traditionally grown on very low pergolas, meaning that harvesters have to bend down or kneel to pick them. Madeira's typical grape varietals, from which the region's most expensive fortified wines are now also made, are Boal, Malvasia, Sercial and Verdelho – one single varietal must account for 85% of the fruit for each respective wine. The highly regarded varietal Terrantez is only grown in very small quantities nowadays. Accounting for almost 90% of overall vineyard space, the Tinta Negra Mole varietal plays a dominant role on the island. It is used to make Madeiras in various styles at the cheaper end of the scale. After fermentation has run its course, Madeira wine is filled into pipes that can typically contain up to 600 litres of liquid.
These pipes are kept in heat-exposed storage – with temperatures rising to between 45°C and 50°C – for at least three months or, in the case of the high-quality Madeiras, for up to six months. This ageing process – called estufagem – gives Madeira its signature caramel taste. Aguardente (Portuguese term for "spirit") is then added to bring the alcohol content up to between 15% and 21% – that is, prior to ageing in the case of premium-quality Madeira or afterwards in the case of lesser qualities. There are two types of sweet Madeira: the better qualities that are made by the arresting the fermentation process, and the cheaper specimens into which intensely sweet, fortified grape juice (or vinho surdo) is added. Madeira is one of the world's longest-lasting wines and tends to improve as it gets older. Bottles that date back to the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century (and are almost priceless) are still being offered on the market and do not appear to have deteriorated at all. The Madeira classification system is based not only on grape varietals, but also on age and the length of the maturation period. A Madeira labelled "Finest" has aged for at least three years. For "Reserve", the minimum amount of ageing is five years, for "Special Reserve" it is ten years, and for "Extra Reserve" it is 15 years. Vintage Madeira – as the name implies – comes from a single vintage. It is barrel-aged for at least 20 years and bottle-matured for a further two years before being released for sale. Today, some four million litres of Madeira are produced on the island. 18% Vol. alcohol. 750 ml.
Owing to statutory provisions (Alcohol Act), discount coupons are not valid for this item (e.g. 10% off).