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A special type of Madeira; see there.

DOC area for a famous dessert wine named after the Portuguese island of Madeira. The archipelago also includes the smaller island of Porto Santo and the uninhabited archipelago of Ilhas Desertas. Madeira is located in the Atlantic Ocean 500 km north of the Canary Islands, 951 km from mainland Portugal and 737 km from the coast of Africa (Morocco). It was discovered in 1420 by the navigator João Gonçalves Zarco (1380-1467), who found a densely forested island (Madeira means "island of the forest"). The Portuguese set fire to the island, and the fire raged for seven years. This destroyed almost all the vegetation, but the wood ash and the pre-existing volcanic soil created ideal conditions for growing grapes. By the end of the 16th century, commercially significant viticulture is documented. The port in Funchal quickly developed into a strategically important stopover for all ships on their way to Africa, Asia and South America. The ships also supplied themselves with wine here. However, these mostly spoiled during the long sea voyages. For this reason, the use of spirits distilled from sugar cane gradually became widespread, especially to make the wines more durable. However, this did not become the norm until the middle of the 18th century

Madeira - Karte Weinbaugebiete und Karte bez. Position

Execution by drowning in Madeira barrel

It is not certain from when there was a Madeira of today's kind, but there is a report of one in 1478. In that year, George Plantaganet Duke of Clarence (1449-1478), brother of the English King Edward IV. (1442-1483), was sentenced to death for conspiratorial activity, greed and violence. He was given the choice of execution and, according to tradition, he allegedly opted for death by drowning in a barrel filled with malmsey in the Tower. It is possible, however, that the "drowning" refers to the fact that he was a heavy drinker throughout his life. In any case, he was not killed by beheading, the usual method of execution for nobles, as evidenced by a later exhumation.

Vinhos de Torna Viagem

The special method of production, also known as Madeirisation because of its typical taste and colour, came about by chance in the 17th century when large quantities were exported by ship from Funchal by the Dutch to South America and other colonies. It was found that the longer the voyage and the longer the ship spent in hot, tropical climates, the better the wine. The rocking motion of the ship (as was assumed at the time) but above all the extreme temperature fluctuations contributed to the typical taste. Therefore, many ships were now loaded with the wine and sent to the East Indies and back for the sole purpose of production (they thus crossed the equator twice). The wines were called "Vinhos de torna-viagem" (wines make a journey) or also "Vinho da roda" (roda = to turn/rotate) and is also documented on old Madeira bottles on the label (TVE)

Madeira - Vinhos de Torna Viagem - Fass und Schiff

The impetus for trade in Madeira was given in the late 17th century, when wine was needed in large quantities for the new Portuguese colonies in South America(Brazil). The colonisation of America in the 17th century under the reign of the English King Charles II (1630-1685) also made Madeira fashionable on the East Coast of North America. It enjoyed a great reputation there and became a sought-after and expensive object. The American Declaration of Independence in 1776 was solemnly sealed with a Madeira. The first US President George Washington (1732-1799) enjoyed a Madeira every day with his dinner. And the founding of Washington D.C., the capital named after him, was also celebrated with a Madeira. In the 19th century, the wine was so popular in the USA that special events (Madeira parties) were held and clubs were founded (legendary is the still existing Madeira Club of Savannah-Ohio).

The time-consuming production by ship was still practised until the beginning of the 20th century, but then abandoned (individual bottles are still on sale). Attempts were now made to imitate the special conditions. Wine warehouses (port. Estufa = oven, English: hothouse) were built, these were provided with tin roofs to store heat from the sun and the wine was stored for months at high temperatures. This was the beginning of the Estufagem process that is common today. In the...

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Thomas Götz

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Thomas Götz
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