Region Of The Week: Madeira

A volcanic island, Madeira is a mountainous region with extreme humidity. Its climate ranges from subtropical to Mediterranean, with tropical heat and high rainfall. The rocky terrain and fertile soil is perfect for Madeira’s key varietals: Sercial, Verdelho, Boal (Bual), Malmsey (Malvasia), and Tinta Negra. 

Madeira Wine Region Map From The Greene Grape

Known as the “Pearl of the Atlantic,” Madeira is an archipelago of islands including Porto Santo, Desertas, and Savage Islands. “Discovered” by Portuguese mariners in 1419, Madeira was a major port during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, providing ships with fuel and wine with high proof spirits added to it, so it could survive long voyages. These fortified wines ended up acquiring complex notes during these long, hot trips at sea, making them even more popular. When the phylloxera epidemic hit Madeira in the mid-1800s their vineyards were devastated, and only 1200 of the original 6000 acres were replanted.