Serving madeira

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Madeira is probably the most robust wine in the world. Little can harm the wine after it has gone through the estufa, or been aged for twenty or more years in cask. Most shippers storing bottles upright recork their most venerable vintages, say, once every 20 years. All wines tend to throw a deposit with age, but madeira throws less than most. Decanting is therefore recommended for older, vintage wines but is not always necessary. Such wines should be left to breathe for a short time, even a few days, before serving simply to allow any bottle sickness to dissipate. Drier Sercial and Verdelho styles benefit from being served ‘cellar cool’ rather than iced. Sweeter Buals and Malmseys should be served at room temperature. Once opened, a bottle of madeira has the advantage of lasting for many months, even years.