Qualities of madeira: Frasqueira (Vintage)

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Frasqueira (Vintage) is the official term which denotes ‘vintage’ madeira: wine from a single year which, unlike vintage port, must age in cask for a minimum of 20 years. Many wines spend considerably more time in wood than this and often spend their later years in 20-l/5-gal glass carboys, or garrafões, before bottling. The wines are extremely resistant to oxidation and may be kept in bottle for many years. Vintage madeira, especially Sercial, is capable of many decades’ bottle ageing. Shippers carrying stocks of old vintages are so confident of madeira’s ability to withstand oxidation that they keep the bottles standing upright so that there is no risk of a poor or tainted cork spoiling the wine.