Maderia First Taste WOW

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Senior Member
Feb 2, 2009
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Howdy All. I am much more of a lurker here than a poster. But I have to chime in here about first attempt at making a Maderia. Yesterday I had my German wine Guru come out for some tasteing and critiques. Three of four of my wines were only so-so at this early stage. But I pulled out about 10 ozs. of Mulled Apple Maderia from my homemade Estufa and let it cool. We were amazed at the results. We were comparing it to a $20 dollar bottle from the store. We both believe that there wasn't fifty cents difference. It has a beautiful dark carmel color. Starbright clear. It has a great body. The smells were almost busy. And the taste was fantastic. Very complex, first time I can say that about one of my wines.
I started with a Spiced Apple wine that finished on the sweet side. I liked it but most found it too sweet. So I fortified it with Brandy to about 20%. It has been in the Estufa for eleven weeks now at 130 degrees. I am aiming for fifteen weeks total. I have a couple dozen bottles of the Apple wine bottled up that I am now considering baking. I will be wasteing corks and labels but I think it is worth it.
I kinda wish that I had made my estufa bigger and better than I did. I have it set up now to hold up to three one gallon wide mouthed jars. I think I can tweak it a bit and fit in a carboy.
I'm so thrilled.
I hope you kept records!. This is one of the most important things in winemaking. If you did you can be sure you will get the same tastes.
Okay, I have to admit I had to look up what an Estufa was. That sounds very interesting.
It is a warm room but hopefully Woodbee could explain it further!
Estufa is oven in some language. Mine is an old metal cabinet. 2'X2'X2.5'. I put a wooden door on some hinges. Then I covered all surfaces with 2" ridgid foam insulation. I wired a simple lamp base/socket on the inside down at the bottom. It runs through a regular light dimmer to adjust to the right temp. I started using a 60 watt light bulb but my neighbor came up with a brass cabinet heater. Then there is a thermometer with a long probe end that is stuck through the door, to monitor the temp. I have two wire racks inside on adjustable shelving standards that my jugs sit on.
The idea is to bring it up to temp slowly, it took me three days to reach 130 degrees. It has held steady without any problems. You are also suppose to bring the temp back down slowly.
What this whole process is replicating is large hogsheads of wine that were loaded on ships for sale in the Indian Ocean. Sometimes they did not all sell and when they returned to Portugal they found that the wine was better than when it left port. Some of the big producers today also replicate the rocking action of the ships on the hot high seas.
This is counter intuitive to many of the threads here that are concerned with warm temps and vibrations. The fortifying with brandy stableizes to keep it from going South. You also don't have all of the potential headaches when bottleing. Screw caps work fine and a partial bottle will not degrade in quality after being open for years.
It really wasn't too tough and you can bet that I will be making alot more.

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