Madeira wine originated from the island of Madeira, Portugal in the 15th century. A caramel-colored sweet fortified wine, Madeira is often compared to Port; however, it is a very different wine.
Turning Up the Heat
Like most great discoveries, Madeira’s origin came about in a somewhat accidental fashion. Stored in the belly of ships during long overseas voyages, the wine underwent excessive heat and constant movement. Wondering why the wine tasted so much better after months on a ship than it did when it left the island, the shipping companies found that the heat process helped “age” the Madeira, giving it a more desirable flavor. Soon, methods were created to replicate the long, hot ship voyages and the “estufagem” (or “oven”) process was developed.
- Haak Madeira is created in an estufa (“oven”) between 105°F - 110°F and sometimes even higher.
- Haak’s very first Madeira was made from the Jacquez grape (also referred to as Black Spanish or Lenoir).
- On the Madeira Island, before it can be considered “vintage,” a Madeira has to be at least 20 years old.