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All About Portugal | September 20, 2020

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Madeira wine

Madera wine
Clara Campos

Madeira wine is an exquisite wine renowned all over the world for centuries that contributes to turn Madeira into a top tourist destination.

The Madeira Island is worldwide known as a tourist destination of excellence for its beauty, its climate, its welcoming people and its gastronomy, including the exquisite Madeira wine. The vineyards, cultivated for centuries, displayed in terraces, following the latada system (trellised vine), sustained by stone walls, mark the island landscape, rising from the sea into the hills.

The vines are linked to Madeira ever since the Discovery of the archipelago in 1419. In fact, there are records attesting that only 25 years after the region colonization there was already Madeira wine being exported. The success of Madeira wine soon spread all over the world not just Europe and this Portuguese nectar was present in several historical landmarks such as the celebration of the independence of the United States of America in 1776, as the Madeira wine was the chosen wine for the toast. Besides, Madeira wine was appreciated by iconic figures such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson or even Winston Churchill, who used to enjoy it on his visits to Madeira.

Madeira wine was referenced by Shakespeare when his character Falstaff sells his soul to the devil in exchange of a piece of chicken and a glass of Madeira wine. Considered by many as the most exquisite European wine, Madeira wine was disputed by the most important families of Boston, Charleston, New York or Philadelphia. At the same time, the European ladies used it to perfume their handkerchiefs.

The uniqueness of the Madeira wine, that charms all who taste it, results from the congregation of several factors namely the volcanic origin of the soil, mainly basalt, the sea proximity, along with the hot and humid summers and mild winters.

Even though the type of soil favours the wine, Madeira’s geography with high slopes, turns the grapes harvest into a true adventure that must be carried out almost entirely by hand, according to ancient methods.

The Madeira wine production region occupies a considerable part of the island’s territory and the wine-growing continues to be one of the most important economic activities.

Sercial, Verdelho, Boal, Malvasia and Tinta Negra are the most used grape varieties used and authorized for the Madeira wine production. The types of Madeira wine may vary according to the year of harvest and the wine’s age, the degree of richness, the color and its structure. To choose your favorite there is nothing better than to go to Madeira Island and to tour the many wine cellars of Funchal’s coastal avenue.

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