Wine styles Madeira

Basically, Madeira has four different styles, corresponding to the wines of the noble grape varieties Sercial, Verdelho, Bual and Malvasia (Malmsey), which show in the sequence increasingly more body and sweetness. As with these wines, also wines from Tinta Negra Mole and blends may have one of the different sweetness grades Seco, Meio Seco, Meio Doce and Doce.

Seco-Dry (dry) may have a residual sugar (RZ) up to 65 grams per liter (g / l). Wines that contain little or no residual sugar may also be called Extra Seco or Extra Dry;

Meio Seco-Medium Dry (semi-dry), RZ greater than 65 to 80 g / l;

Meio Doce-Medium Sweet (Semisweet), RZ greater than 80 to 96 g / l;

Doce-Sweet (Sweet), RZ greater than 96 g / l.

Instead of Sweet one can often find Rich on the labels. In addition, there are wines between the styles, such as the Rainwater, an usually three to five-year-old Madeira, with a style between Sercial and Verdelho.

The styles are offered in different qualities. Basically, you can distinguish two types: Madeira with indication of vintage and Madeira with indication of age.

Madeira with indication of vintage

As a rule, Madeira vintage wines, such as Colheita or Frasqueira, grape varieties like Sercial, Verdelho, Bual or Malvasia (Malmsey) are used.

A Colheita called Madeira matures in wooden barrels for at least 5 years, while Frasqueira, also known as vintage-wine must have at least 20 years Fassreifung. Both types can either be made of only one of the noble varieties – which one must then be specified accordingly – or is a blend of approved grape varieties. On the label besides the vintage year also the date of bottling is specified.

On older bottles the indication Solera may be found rarely, which refers to the type of maturation, known from the sherry wines. Today, a solera can no longer be used to make Madeira.

Madeira with indication of age

The wines with indication of age contain a great variety of qualities, from the young simple to the mature highly complex Madeira. The wines are offered in the age of over 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 and 40 years.

The quality increases with increasing age. Three-year-old Madeira, often also called Fine, are blends made from Tinta Negra Mole and / or Complexa and undergo warming in the tank (Cuba de Calor). Five-year-old Madeira (Reservas) usually also contain more ripened parts and it may be that not only Tinta Negra Mole and Complexa but also noble grape varieties are included.

Ten-year-olds (Reserva Velha), fifteen-year-olds (Reserva Especial) and older Madeira are generally mature and made from noble grape varieties. If at least 85% of the wine is made from one of the noble grape varieties, this is stated on the label, otherwise the grape variety is missing.

If a label has the inscription Canteiro, this means at least that this wine has been proven to have aged at least 2 years in the barrel and is at least three years old when bottled. Often, however, the wine has been aged much longer.

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