Henriques & Henriques 5 Year Old Madiera

Region: Madeira, Portugal

Viticulture: Conventional

Winemaker: Luis Pereira

Established Date: 1850

This 5 Year Old Madeira starts life as fermenting must and is then fortified before undergoing its own very special maturation process. Made of predominantly Tinta Negra Mole Grapes, harvest begins from mid-August due to the warm southerly climate. A unique and highly sophisticated artificial Estufa process is set up for the 5 year old wines, where temperatures rise to 45C before being allowed to cool. This process takes 90 days and renders the wine completely stable. It is then aged in oak casks for 5 years, prior to bottling.

Sommelier’s Recommendation: An intensely concentrated and luscious fortified wine with very developed ripe fruit flavours. Dark gold in colour with strong aromas of dried fruits. Smooth and rich, this wine should ideally be drunk after a meal, sipped slowly and served with nuts, blue cheese or even by itself.

A Madeiran institution since its establishment in 1850, Henriques & Henriques offers the best of this picturesque Portuguese island.  the company was founded by João Gonçalves Henriques, a descendant of a family that settled in Câmara de Lobos many years ago. After his death in 1912, his sons João Joaquim and Francisco Eduardo Henriques made a partnership where the name “Henriques & Henriques” comes from.

With over 160 years of experience producing the finest Madeiras, H&H embraces recent technical innovation to create and nurture wines of exceptional quality. They’ve been shipping wines under their own label from the island since 1925, and unlike most of the other shippers, they actually own some of their own vineyards.

In 1938 João Joaquim Henriques died without heirs, but before he died he transferred the company to three friends, Peter Cossart, Alberto Nascimento Jardim and Carlos Nunes Pereira.  It has revealed a constant growth and, in 1992, new installations in Câmara de Lobos and a winemaking centre in Quinta Grande were built, where vineyards were planted in 1995. In recent years, a space that was misused and where the staff took their meals was adapted to receive visitors. Here they can enjoy wine tastings,admire the old wines stock, resting in big old casks and even in its cooperage, or even witness their production.

How do you make Madeira? It’s has a special process called the Estufa process: The Estufagem (o estufa) process of making Madeira wine is used to produce the majority of Madeira wine today.It is not a new process, but one that have evolved to meet demand for Madeira in the 19th century. Previously the oxidisation process of the wine had relied on the wine being subject to heat on long sea journeys. It was, for a time also believed that the movement of the wine in the barrel while at sea caused the unique flavour development. This as we know from history is not the case and it is gentle heat that provides Madeira wine with its wonderful flavours. In other words, the estufagem aging process, meant to duplicate the effect of a long sea voyage on the ageing barrels through tropical climates and high temperatures.