Monday, March 12, 2018

Difference between Madeira and Port wines

Telling Number Three about my recent Amazon review, he corrected me: the wine was a Madeira, but the rest of the story was very similar. And so are the wines. How I can forget such an important detail? Age, I guess. I never knew exactly the difference so I looked for it online. Here is what I found:

What are the differences between a Madeira and a Port wine?
Delfim G. Almeida, Traveling the world one question at a time.
Answered Dec 3 2016 · Author has 561 answers and 486.1k answer views
Both wines are fortified sweet wines and both are produced in Portugal, albeit in different areas. You can also cook with both of them, and can make cocktails with Madeira wine.
PORT - is a sweet, red wine from the Douro River region, an old, craggy, windy, cold and also unbearably hot, sunny dry area of Northern Portugal. It can only be produced there, and it is most commonly enjoyed as a dessert wine because it is rich and sweet. There are several styles of Port, including red, white, rosé and an aged style called Tawny Port. While much of the Port we see in the supermarket is of average quality, there are amazing fine Ports that are highly treasured for sipping and can cost several hundred dollars.
Being a fortified wine means that grape brandy is added to stop the fermentation before all the sugar is turned to alcohol, so that you have a sweet wine, yet one with a quite high alcohol content by volume. One of the most important qualities of true Port is the unique blend of Portuguese indigenous grapes, which include Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (aka Tempranillo), Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão; there are said to be at least 52 varieties! Each grape adds a unique flavor to the blend. For example, Touriga Nacional adds blueberry and vanilla notes, and Touriga Franca adds raspberry and cinnamon notes. Port is traditionally fermented in lagars where people stomp grapes with their feet while the wine ferments, but today, most Port wineries use automatic lagars with mechanical “feet” in place of manual labor. Port wine pairs wonderfully with richly flavored cheeses (including blue cheese and washed-rind cheeses), chocolate and caramel desserts, salted and smoked nuts, and even sweet-smoky meats. A popular way to serve Ruby Port in the summer (with a meal) is on the rocks with a peel of lime! Amazing wine, drink it with a much smaller shot type glass.
MADEIRA - wine is produced in the beautiful semi-tropical island of Madeira, in the mid-Atlantic.
It is also a fortified wine going thru the same process as Port, however, what is interesting about this one, is that the wine is heated at a high temperature for a long time. This duplicates the effect first noticed in the old days, when shipped barrels of wine in wooden sailing ships took a long time to cross the Equator. So much so that the wine virtually 'cooked' in the barrels but it tasted good! The heating created a wine with flavors of roasted nuts, stewed fruit, caramel, and toffee. Also Madeira wine differs from any other wine in the world in its aging process. What winemakers try to avoid in every other wine region, Madeira wine producers do plainly and deliberately. They heat the wine and cool it dozens of times throughout the aging process, exposing it to oxygen (a winemaking no-no) often evaporating without being topped off in barrel. Dry styles of Madeira are chilled with starter courses, and sweeter styles are served as after-dinner-sippers like a fine Cognac.
Madeira’s rich and layered character makes it a fine substance for deglazing, reducing sauces and adding to salad dressings. Mushrooms are one of the greatest partners for Madeira’s sweet earthiness. For this, you sauté mushrooms and splash in Madeira before adding in the chicken or vegetable stock to make the sauce. Madeira also adds a smoky sweetness to soups or simmering vegetables (imagine butternut squash or turnips). The longer its aged the more nuttiness it will impart to a dish. If you can’t find a real Madeira, you might try a dry or sweet Marsala but it is not the same. You can use a smaller cognac type glass for sipping Madeira, and once you try it, you will be hooked!

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