I always like to make my February wine pick a fortified one because that's the month where we get most of our snow here on Cape Cod. Fortified wine is strengthened with spirits, usually brandy, so it'll keep you warm and toasty between shovelings.
Madeira is a Portuguese island far out in the Atlantic, west of the Strait of Gibraltar. Their wines were like any other until it became a popular stop for sailors, so they fortified it to slow down spoilage on long journeys. At some point somebody left a barrel on deck in the sun for too long and noticed that, when exposed to heat, the fortified wines of Madeira got even better. The style became standard. Madeira became, basically, a slow-baked fortified wine. It was America's favorite wine at the time of our revolution.
Most Madeira is now heated in stainless steel tanks, as was this one. It's brown in color, medium bodied and smooth in mouthfeel. There's aromas and flavors of hazelnuts, raisins, dried apricots and chocolate. Its sweetness is balanced by salivating acidity, and it finishes with raisins, caramel and coffee.
This is a great introductory example for those who have never had Madeira before, and a nice everyday drinker for those that are already fans. Because it's already been oxidized it'll keep MUCH longer than other wines after it's been opened, a welcomed feature with its 19% ABV.
QUALITY VS PRICE RATING