Unchanged for almost 200 years, Madeira wine was born out of necessity. A fortified wine, it's available in dry or sweet styles with an intriguing flavor profile of roasted nuts, stewed fruit, caramel and toffee. During long journeys to the Americas, ships would often stop at the island of Madeira to load up on provisions, including this wine. In order to survive the long journey, Madeira was fortified to avoid spoiling.
Dry styles are often best served with appetizers, while sweeter styles are often saved for after dinner.
A Unique Process:
Madeira is an outlier in the world of wine. Many of the processes used in making this wine are purposefully avoided by other winemakers. It’s heated and cooled dozens of times and also exposed to oxygen, which works because its grapes are harvested much earlier than typical wines. This helps to preserve the wine and allows it to stand up to storage for a hundred years or more.