Expert’s choice: Madeira

Madeira ageing in casks at Blandy’s wine lodge

If ever there was a bottle of wine to take to a desert island, Madeira has to be the one.

The Portuguese island of Madeira, situated in the Atlantic, 700km off the coast of north Africa, is far from being a desert (or deserted) island itself, despite being on the same latitude as the northern Sahara. Because of its topography (rising to nearly 1,900m above sea level), the vegetation is lush and sub-tropical. Bananas and sugar cane flourish alongside grape varieties that curiously retain naturally high levels of acidity. The fertile volcanic soils, naturally high yields and mesoclimatic factors all contribute to this.

Scroll down for a selection of 18 Madeiras to try

All Madeira wine is fortified to between 17% and 22% alcohol with grape spirit that is 96% in strength.

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