Madeira Wine has a long history, dating back to the Age of Exploration when Madeira was a standard port of call for ships heading to the New World or East Indies. At this time, neutral grape spirits were added with the objective of preventing spoiling. On the long sea voyages, the wines would be exposed to excessive heat and movement which transformed the flavour of the wine.
This was discovered by the wine producers of Madeira. Today, Madeira wine is noted for its unique making process which involves heating the wine. Hot water, at a temperature between 45 and 50 degrees Celsius [or approximately 115 °F], runs through a serpentine system for a period of never less than three months. Once this heating process is completed, the wine is subjected to a rest period of at least 90 days.
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