NYC Madeira tasting; something to learn and love

Yesterday was the IVBAM Madeira tasting in NYC and boy did  I learn somethings. I don’t drink much Madeira, but after the tasting I’ve become a believer and a lover.
[tweetmeme source=”PIWC2” only_single=false]

Some facts on Madeira: Madeira wine is relatively undiscovered by American consumers. Most Madeira is marketed in the European Union, representing 65% of the market, followed by Japan and the United States. Produced on the island of Madeira, off the coast of Portugal, it is a fortified wine and is offered in four sugar profiles: dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet and sweet. The most traditional grapes used in the process are Sercial, Verdelho, Boal, Malvasia, Tinta Negra and Malmsey. Malmsey is considered the sweetest of Madeira’s and is usually served as a desert wine. The unique quality of Madeira and is ability to age well is due to the heating used during processing called estufagem.

While not on many tables in the US, Madeira has a history of being on the tables of European kings, emperors and statesman. On July 4th 1776, Madeira was served to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The versatility and elegance of Madeira wine is expressed by the different sugar profiles produced:

  • Dry- is an excellent aperitif; goes well with olives, smoked salmon and caviar.
  • Semi-Dry -goes well as an aperitif, stuffed mushrooms , smoked ham , foie gras and other pates.
  • Sweet- goes well with fruit, nuts, dark chocolate, Danish blue cheese, Stilton. The wine also goes well with cigars and pipe tobacco
  • Semi-Sweet-goes will with tropical fruit , soft cheeses, cigars and pipe tobacco.

Madeira is considered ageless, since the usual factors that destroy a wine, heat and oxygen have already done their worst to the wine during its cask aging process. As a rule, vintage dated Madeira must spend at least 20 years in cask. Younger Madeira cannot be vintage dated. Madeira that is labeled Solera will carry the date of the original cask, so a wine that is labeled Solera 1815 is wine from blending casks that were first started in 1815. Madeira’s are aged in wood and are normally bottled for sale when 3, 5, 10 or 15 years old, depending on their quality and ageing potential. The very finest Madeira’s will become Vintages. The remarkable longevity of Madeira is best exemplified by the Vintages, which can remain in excellent condition for around 150 years and in some instances longer still.

Madeiras  showcased at  IVBAM tasting:
Blandy’s , Henriques &  Henriques, Justino’s, Pereira D’Oliveira and Vinhos Barbeitos
All fine and of exceptional quality. Pick up a bottle and explore!

Cheers! -Adrienne

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s