Grape varieties Madeira

Rebsorten Madeira
Verdelho-Traube

Tinta Negra Mole, a relatively neutral, thin-skinned red grape variety, is the most widely cultivated, permitted and used variety for the production of the cheaper dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet and sweet varieties of Madeira. For wines made exclusively from Tinta Negra Mole, the grape variety must not be visible on the label. The classic noble grape varieties Sercial, Verdelho, Bual and Malmsey are white wine grapes.

Sercial, named Esgana Cao (dog strangler) in Portugal because of its high acidity, with a residual sugar (RZ) between 8 and 25 grams, is the lightest and driest Madeira wine. The sensitive, low-yielding grape is rarely grown and ripens long in the higher, cooler locations on the north coast. The wines are usually pale amber and show in the taste next to the typical notes of Madeira pineapple, pear and some grapefruit.

The variety Verdelho, which often grows in middle high locations on the north coast, produces a semi-dry Madeira with 25 – 40 g residual sugar and aromas of stone fruit, quince and sometimes of citrus fruits.

The amber-white small berries of the Bual ripen in low to medium altitudes, mostly on the south coast, and produce strong, semi-sweet wines (40 – 60 g RS) with high acidity and aromas of, for example, walnut, herbs, malt or nougat.

Malvasia Candida (Malmsey) is found mainly in the south near the sea, but also in lower, sunny regions of the north. The late ripening, powerful grape variety is sweet vinified(60 – 120 g RZ) and shows a smoky complexity and aromas of fig, plum and toffee.

Also one of the noble varieties is Terrantez, but this is hardly to be found on the island, if then mostly in bottles of older vintages. Softer alternatives to Tinta Negra Mole are the also rare dark varieties Bastardo and Complexa.