Fermentation may be in various types of vessel, ranging from wooden casks to stainless steel fermenters, but generally there is no temperature control, so 35°C may be reached or perhaps exceeded. Starter cultures are not employed. Fortification to 17-18% ABV is either immediate, to prevent malolactic fermentation and the action of endogenous acetic acid bacteria, or delayed 2-3 months, in which case volatile acidity is likely to have increased.

The heating stage is effected after increasing the sweetness by approximately 2-9°Brix using either a fortified grape juice, concentrated grape must or hydrolysed corn syrup. Heating is by circulating hot water around the product, either using a stainless steel coil in the tank or through a jacket. Heating is typically in concrete at 40-50°C for at least 3 months. A brown hue is produced, together with caramelisation aromas and a soft palate arising from the impact on phenolics. The estufagem process must be conducted during the first 3 years.

Madeiras are mostly aged in wood. Vintage madeiras must come from a single variety in a single year and must be aged for more than 20 years in wood and at least 2 years in bottle. Blending of madeira is a simplified version of the port system.

Many madeiras are charcoal-treated to remove the more extreme characteristics developed during the heating stage. They are fined with casein, treated with bentonite and held at -8°C for 1 week before filtration using diatomaceous earth and ensuing sheet or sheet-plus cartridge filtration.

The Miracle Of Vinegar

The Miracle Of Vinegar

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