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DECK Number 4

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[h] DipWSET D5 SET 4 Madeira

[i] DipWSET D5 – Fortified Wines Flashcards

SET 4 Madeira


– Read the Term on the Card and give your answer
– Click on “Check the Answer” button to check your knowledge
– Click on “Got It!” if your answer was correct
– Click on “Need more practice” to review the card at the end of the deck and try answering another time
– Click on “Shuffle” button to change cards order


[q] Why is Madeira famous to have highly vigorous vines?

[a] Because of the combination of

  • Rich volcanic soils
  • Plentiful of rain

[q] What is the geographic location of Madeira?

[a] A island in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 600km off the coast of Morocco

[q] What was the original largest crop of Madeira when Portuguese colonists first inhabited the island?


Sugar, wheat and vines.

Predominantly sugar, until competition from other countries

[q] What factors led to the increase of wine sales from Madeira in the 17th and 18th Century?

[a] The decline of sugar.
The increasing reach of the British Empire. British merchants set up there and sent wine to the West Indies and North America

[q] What was the historical context for the maturation style specific to Madeira?

[a] Sailing to and from the tropics on long ship journeys improved the quality of the wine

[q] What was responsible for the downturn in trade in the late 19th century?
And then similarly in the 20th century?

[a] Late 19th – Powdery mildew and then Phylloxera (similar to Portugal)
20th – Prohibition in North America, two World Wars and the Russian Revolution.
Changing consumer tastes in the later 20th century

[q] What is the name of the original governing body that regulated the industry from 1979?
What superceded it, and when?

[a] Instituto do Vinho da Maderia (1979).
Instituto do do Vinho, do Bordado e do Artesanato da Madeira (IVBAM) (2006)
Bordado – Embroidery
Artesanato – Handicraft

[q] What is the climate of Madeira?


Warm mediterranean – with warm summers and mild winters.

Lack of winter dormancy can be a problem in warmer sites

[q] How is the warm climate mitigated for growers?


Altitude – it is a very mountainous island.

Mountains also cause precipitation to gather on the north and central parts of the island


What is the:

Total DO area?
Total area under vine


74,000 ha total area
– 450 ha under vine

[q] What areas of the island are mostly planted?


Areas closer to the coast, at altitudes up to about 800m


Describe the soil profile of Madeira

[a] J

Volcanic origins, high in nutrients

[q] How do the combined environmental factors of climate and soil effect the vines productivity?

[a] Volcanic soils that are high in nutrients, combined with plentiful rain makes for a fertile environment and therefore vigorous vinese

[q] Before Phylloxera, what grape varieties were mostly planted and valued?


Malvasia, Terrantez, Verdelho (most planted)

[q] What is significant about the planting of American vines and hybrids on Madeira?


They were planted to withstand disease after powdery mildew and Phylloxera, and although they were pulled out to be replanted with grafted vv vines, it is said that a lot of plantings remained. It is not permitted to make Madeira from these vines

[q] What were the three traditional categories for Madeira grape varieties?
What are they now split in to?
How do the current categories differ?


  1. Noble
    ‘Recommended’ varieties, &
    ‘Authorised’ varieties
    Authorised varieties are mostly varieties that were introduced after Phylloxera, but have not shown the same capacity for quality as the recommended varieties

[q] What are the six recommended varieties?


Tinta Negra

[q] What are the key characteristics of Tinta Negra? (7)


Most planted variety
Introduced after Phylloxera
Named in recommended since 2015
High yielding
Neutral, thin-skinned
Medium-High acid
Used widely to produce wines that indicate sweetness level rather than variety

[q] What are the key characteristics of Sercial? (6)

[a] Sparsely planted
High acid
Late ripening, in cool sites can be just barely over minimum PA
Resistant to Powdery
Susceptible to Botrytis and poor fruit set
Used for the driest style of Madeira, lightest in body & colour, flavours of citrus peel and nuts

[q] What are the key characteristics of Verdelho? (3)

[a] Second most planted vv variety
high acid, but slightly lower than Sercial.
Susceptible to most diseases – downy, powdery, botrytis and coulure.
Will be Medium Dry, rounder than Sercial due to more RS, flavours of candied fruits and slightly darker colour than Sercial

[q] What are the key characteristics of Boal? (5)


It is an umbrella term for a number of varieties.
Refers here to Boal Cachudo, aka Malvasia Fina
Best grown on warmer, low altitude sites.
Susceptible to drought, needs irrigation.
Typically makes Medium Sweet wines, flavours of caramel, chocolate and candied nuts

[q] What are the key characteristics of Malvasia? (5)


It is an umbrella term for an number of varieties.
Traditionally Malvasia Candida – very susceptible to powdery
Now, Malvasia de Sao Jorge – most common. Higher yielding, but susceptible to botrytis
Aka Malmsey
Typically makes Sweet wines, full-bodied, brown in colour, has refreshing acidity and flavours of raisins and caramel

[q] What are the key characteristics of Terrantez? (3)


Very limited plantings
Susceptible to powdery and botrytis, so must be early picked.
Makes Medium Dry or Medium Sweet wines, they have a delicacy to them, flavours of citrus peel, caramel, sometimes floral.

[q] What is the typical vineyard layout and why?


Terraces, because the region is so mountainous


What is the most common trellising technique?

Why is it effective here?

[a] Pergola, here called Latadas.
Effective to:
1. Promote airflow as disease pressure is so prevalent here.
2. Allow for crops to be grown underneath

[q] What is the local name for cordon trained, VSP trellised vines?



Used in highest quality plantings


What are the most common diseases on Madeira?

How are they combatted?


Downy mildew, botrytis bunch rot, Phomopsis.

Combatted through a combination of canopy management (shoot positioning, leaf removal), and fungicide sprays

[q] What water management techniques are used on Madeira?


Irrigation is common, despite the humid climate and higher rainfall. Irrigation channels called Levadas are built to bring water from the centre of the island to the vineyards, particularly on the southern side


How is harvest determined?

When is it usually?


The official harvest date is determined by the IVBAM.

Usually the end of August or the start of September

[q] What is the minimum potential alcohol, and what is the most common level for picking?


9% minimum
Generally no more than 11%
(presumably in an attempt to pick before disease pressure becomes unmanageable)

[q] What are the maximum permitted yields?


Variable each vintage, but can reach up to 150 hL/ha

[q] What must happen upon the arrival of the grapes at the winery?


They must be checked for weight, health and potential alcohol, in the presence of a representative from the IVBAM
Grapes are always destemmed

[q] How is skin contact used in the winery?


It will vary between grape varieties and by producer.

It is more frequently used for Tinta Negra, but some producers include some for white varieties as well

[q] What kind of fermentation vessel and yeasts are typically used?


Stainless steel, ambient yeasts

[q] When will fortification occur?


It depends on the style being produced. Sweeter styles can be fortified after only a couple of days. Drier styles can ferment up to a week

[q] What are the requirements for the fortifying alcohol?


It must be 96% grape spirit.

It can be sourced independently, but the quality must be checked by the IVBAM

[q] What finishing options are frequently chosen for wines before maturation?


  1. Fined – bentonite, gelotine or albumin
  2. Filtration – diatomaceous earth

[q] What are the two methods of maturation used in Madeira?




[q] Describe the estafugem process

It is a maturation process where the wine is heated in temperature controlled stainless steel vessels called estufas


What temperature are the estufas heated to?

How long must the wine remain in tank?


45-50 C

Minimum 3 months

[q] How are the IVBAM involved in the maturation process?

[a] They are responsible for sealing and unsealing maturation vessels for bot estafugem and centeiro matured wines

[q] How is oxidation used in the production of Madeira?

[a] The tanks/barrels are not usually filled to the top, so some oxidation does occur.
Colours will turn brown and primary aromas develop to tertiary aromas of dried fruit, and caramelisation

[q] What are the steps that occur after heating in estufa?


The wine is cooled, filtered and left to rest for 6-12 months

[q] When are estufagem wines permitted to be released onto market?


The 31st October the year following harvest

[q] What quality level is estufagem aged Madeira?


Traditionally the wines were lower quality and less complex than wines made in the canteiro process. It has imporved, but is still used predominantly for 3 – 5 year old wines made from Tinta Negr

[q] Describe the canteiro process

[a] A maturation process where the wines are aged in old oak vessels in a warm environment. Heating is by the sun, rather than processed

[q] What size are the barrels used for Canteiro?



[q] What temperature range is common for Canteiro maturation?

[a] 25-40 C, as different warehouses can have different temperatures and there can be warmer/cooler spots within each warehouse.
Younger wines will be held in warmer areas and then moved to cooler areas for longer ageing

[q] What role does evaporation play in Canteiro maturation?


The warm environment means that the wine will evaporate.

It needs to be topped up
The alcohol will increase to 19-20% abv
The flavours and colour will concentrate
Volatile acidity will increase

[q] When can Canteiro wines be released to market?


Three years after the 1st January following harvest

[q] What maturation options are available to a producer after the completion of the minimum estafugem or canteiro ageing process?


Further ageing, usually in large vats or tanks to limit further evaporation.
They can apply to the IVBAM to have an EU subsidised 5 year additional ageing process, where the IVBAM must be present for the beginning, any adjustments, and the end

[q] How is blending used in the production of Madeira? (4)


Madeira is typically non-vintage, so blending from different vintages and vineyard parcels for consistency is common.
Blending varieties is less common.
Blending different barrels from different areas of the warehouse to achieve certain flavours is also common.
Blending between estafugem and canteiro to bring complexity can also occur

[q] What adjustments are typically made before bottling?


Colour – caramel to increase, or carbon fining to strip

Sweetness – RCGM to increase, blending with drier wine to decrease

[q] What are the labelling options in regards to sweetness level?
What is significant about these terms? (3)
What is required to be on all labels?

[a] Extra Dry
Medium Dry
Medium Sweet/Rich
They do not require a specific RS level, so there is overlap between producers.
Also wines labelled Dry demonstrate some degree of sweetness
Varietally labeled wines do not need a sweetness indicator
All labels must have bottling date

[q] What are the additional categories available for Madeira production? (5)


Indication of age
Standard blends (Corrente)
Frasqueira (aka Garrafeira)

[q] What are the labelling options for Madeira with an indication of age?
What do these terms indicate?
What must a producer do to be able to use these labelling terms?


5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50 and ‘more than 50’

They are an indication of style rather than a required minimum (much like Port).
A producer must be have the wine tasted and approved by the IVBAM, and have an account of all wine used in the final blend submitted


How does Madeira with an indication of age relate to differing levels of quality and production?


Price and quality tend to increase with age.
5 year old wines will generally:
– be matured in estafugem system
– be made from Tinta Negra
– good- very good, mid-priced
10 year old or more will generally:
– be matured in canteiro system
– made from white varieties
– increasingly concentrated and complex, highest acidity
20 years of more will generally:
– be outstanding quality and super-premium priced

[q] What is a Corrente Madeira?


A standard blend. A Madeira that does not qualify for an age indication. They may be sold between 2-3 years after the harvest

[q] What is a Rainwater Madeira?

[a] Made in a lighter style in terms of alcohol, body and concentration. Storied to be named as such when casks were rained on and became diluted.
They are:
– Usually 18% abv
– Always medium dry
– can only be maximum of 10 year aged on label


What is Frasqueira Madeira? (6)


Also known as Garrafeira
Vintage Madeira that has been aged in wood for a minimum of 20 years.
Must be a recommended variety, which must be on the label
Label must have vintage and bottling date
IVBAM must assess and approve.
Complex tertiary flavours, rich but well balanced by acidity


What is a Colheita Madeira? (5)


Single vintage Madeira that has been aged in wood for a minimum of 5 years.
Can be a blend or single variety – does not need to be labelled
Label must have vintage and bottling date.
IVBAM must assess and approve
New, since 2000. Popular because of lower ageing requirement than Frasqueira

[q] Describe the vineyard land ownership

[a] Fragmented. Over 1000 growers with less than 1/3 hectare


How many producers of Madeira are there?

Who are the three largest?



Justino’s, Madeira Wine Company and Henriques & Henriques

[q] What is the relationship between producers and growers?

All producers buy grapes, and often from hundreds of different growers. To make this process easier most growers use an agent to assist in the purchase coordination

[q] What are the key responsibilities of the IVBAM? (5)

[a] Coordination and support of the wine and embroidery industries.
Monitoring stocks and quality control
Sealing and unsealing maturation vessels.
Assessing and approving wines in special categories.
Setting of regulations for production and labelling

[q] Where are the largest markets for Madeira?

[a] France, followed by Madeira itself, helped by tourist trade. Combined they account for almost half of total consumption.
Inexpensive – France and Germany
Premium – Madeira and Japan

[q] Describe recent sales trends of Madeira

[a] Relatively stable.
Most sales are accounted for by young corrente wines, followed by 5 – 10 year old.
Sales value has slightly increased in recent years, with Colheita and Frasquiera increasing their share

[q] How is Madeira related to the food industry?

[a] Estafugem wines are released young, and is used for cooking or the production of confectionary, or flavouring schnapps. These make up approximately 1/5 of total volume of sales

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