Portugal – Autonomous Region of Madeira

Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago that lies just under 400 km north of Tenerife, Canary Islands, in the north Atlantic Ocean. The archipelago comprises the major part of one of the two Autonomous regions of Portugal (the other being the Azores located to the northwest), that includes the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo, and the Desertas, administered together with the separate archipelago of the Savage Islands.

Madeira is also the name of a fortified wine, produced in the Madeira Islands; varieties may be sweet or dry. It has a history dating back to the Age of Exploration when Madeira was a standard port of call for ships heading to the New World or East Indies. To prevent the wine from spoiling, neutral grape spirits were added. However, wine producers of Madeira discovered, when an unsold shipment of wine returned to the islands after a round trip, that the flavour of the wine had been transformed by exposure to heat and movement. Today, Madeira is noted for its unique winemaking process, which involves heating the wine and deliberately exposing the wine to some levels of oxidation. Most countries limit the use of the term Madeira or Madère to only those wines that come from the Madeira Islands, to which the European Union grants Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status.

Madeira also produces conventional red and white wines from a number of different grape varieties.

The Pedro d Fogo 2008 is an intense red wine made from two grape varieties, Red Barroca and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was produced at Parque Agrícola do Caniçal on the island of Madeira by Ella Ferreira for Cellar de São Vicente.

Robert would appreciate any information on wine production in countries and autonomous regions not listed. You may contact Robert here.

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