In this guide, we’ll be referring to various styles and grape varieties of Madeira. If you’re not yet familiar with these and their individual characteristics, head to our guide to the different types of Madeira wine first.
Blandy’s range of 15-year old wines are excellent examples of Madeira Extra Reserve blends. They all express their individual grape varieties differently while offering sophisticated aromas and refined flavours.
Although each blend is best suited for different circumstances, we’d probably lean towards the 15-year old Malmsey wine. Its golden brown hue is clear and touts thick legs that slowly trickle down the sides of the glass. Meanwhile, its bold and complex bouquet reveals aged dried fruit and toffee with a woody vanilla finish.
"A wonderfully rich and opulent expression that demonstrates what experience Madeira wine is capable of delivering."
As an alternative to Blandy’s Malmsey Extra Reserve, Cossart Gordon excels in showcasing the island’s Bual grape variety. while it may have a slightly paler colour, you can expect a similar level of complexity with dried fruit, wood, and vanilla. However, you may also notice a subtle hint of almond in its luxuriously long finish.
A deep and nutty 5-year old blend, Henriques & Henriques’ Generoso opens with volatile citrus aromas of candied lemon and orange zest. Meanwhile, its heart offers delicate spices like cinnamon and clove, which is reminiscent of the festive season. Its long and somewhat acidic finish eventually reveals notes of walnut and roasted almond.
Bartholomew Broadbent is often credited with Madeira’s renaissance in the 1990s. While he doesn’t produce wines himself, his label carefully selects some of the most refined specimens on the island.
Supple and surprisingly floral, his 10-year old Special Reserve Malmsey blend was produced by Juan Teixeira. It features rich notes or citrus with a deep and peppery finish. While about the same price as Blandy’s older Malmsey, it offers an equally refined experience.
You’ll be seeing a lot of full rich Tinta Negra blends in this guide. Indeed, it’s among the most readily available varieties of Madeira in the USA. Leacock’s is another great example of the grape’s diversity and it offers a full-bodied experience of characteristic dried fruit, toffee, and nut notes.
We’re taking the liberty of featuring another Broadbent wine simply because his Colheita is a great initiation into vintage Madeira. As you’ll learn in our guide to the types of Madeira wine, Colheita isn’t a true vintage.
While it certainly consists of just one harvest, it is aged for a shorter period of time. Therefore, it may not be quite as mature, but it will offer you a more affordable vintage experience. The 1999 vintage is somewhat more affordable and its well-balanced body of sweet and bitter notes showcase notes of ginger, toasted sesame, walnut, and cocoa.
Best known for producing port and sherry wines, Sandeman also has a limited range of a few Madeira specimens, too. This particular Madeira wine is another 100% Tinta Negra blend that has been made by Casa dos Vinhos da Madeira.
It’s somewhat more youthful and a little lighter than the listings. It’s also quite affordable but it still delivers aromas of dried fruit with balanced acidity and a smooth mouthfeel.
With noticeably less acidity, HM Borges Sweet Madeira is by far the sweetest Madeira listed in this guide. However, it is not without complexity and you may notice hints of honey and brown sugar on the palate.
Like Sandeman’s Fine Rich, is an affordable option, especially if you’re in the market for a particularly succulent Madeira wine that’s easy to drink.
As you’ll learn in our guide to the different types of Madeira wine, Rainwater used to be a bestseller in the USA. While its popularity may have waned in recent years, it still offers a distinctive experience.
Leaning towards a drier palate than full or rich Tinta Negra blends, Rainwater is a lighter and more refreshing wine. Although it doesn’t show an age statement, Blandy’s Rainwater tends to be quite youthful and uses wine that has been aged for around three years.
Formerly known as Justino Henriques, we presume that it recently changed its name to avoid confusion with Henriques & Henriques. Nevertheless, the producer has a long history and was established back in 1870.
This cheap and cheerful Madeira wine is a great introduction to Tinta Negra and its ability to produce rich and luscious flavours. If you want something affordable for a laidback apéritif or even for enhancing your meals, it’s a solid option.
Although Madeira wine experienced something of a renaissance in the late 20th century, it has never managed to reclaim its title as the USA’s favourite wine. Indeed, it was once the only wine that could travel to America and a favourite of both Thomas Jefferson and John Hancock.
Today, buying Madeira wine in the USA is, quite frankly, a frustrating task. Most Madeira that you’ll find in supermarkets or convenience stores is made for cooking. And while you can certainly cook with drinking Madeira, we wouldn’t recommend it the other way around!
You may occasionally be lucky to find a bottle in a local wine shop and there are some passionate merchants that may even sell several. Nevertheless, your luck may greatly depend on where you live. After all, it has become something of a speciality wine, to say the least.
Overall, you’ll probably have better luck in buying Madeira online in the USA. However, one of our favourite online shops, Reserve Bar, sadly doesn’t stock any. In fact, it only has a few ports and sherries.
Drizly is another option and while most of the wines we listed in this guide can be bought there, it depends on your local area. The way Drizly works is that it partners with local liquor stores to process orders and deliver them to your door. If the shops near you don’t sell Madeira, you’re out of luck.
We found that Wine.com had the best overall selection of Madeira wines. After all, Madeira is closer to wine than a spirit even if it has been fortified. Although it doesn’t have every producer, it has a good selection from some of the best.
Ultimately, the wines in this guide don’t necessarily reflect the very best Madeira that has been produced. Since we were looking primarily at what can be bought online, it was subject to the whims of the market.
Therefore, consider finding a wine specialist near you and you might find some delights that have been made from other grape varieties like Terrantez, Sercial, and Verdelho!
Now that you have read about the best Madeira wine brands, why don’t you check out more of our resources?