There are actually plenty of Madeira wine substitutes to choose from! So, if you are out of Madeira wine, there is no need to panic. Even though this fortified wine has a distinct flavour, there are several other types of wine that you can use as Madeira wine substitutes.
All of the following 5 Madeira wine substitutes have their specific history and flavour. However, they are still excellent substitutes for Madeira wine if needed. So keep reading to learn what is the best substitute for Madeira wine!
5 Madeira wine substitutes you need to know
Cooking with Madeira wine brings lots of flavour to the dish. Madeira wine is especially great for putting that extra something into a sauce or a stew.
That being said, Madeira wine is probably not always on the top of your mind when making a shopping list, so what to do if you don’t have any? No worries. I will share my list of recommended madeira wine substitutes with you.
However, before I do, find out all there is to know about Madeira wine. This way you'll understand the profile of this wine.
what is Madeira wine?
Madeira wine is a fortified wine from the island of the same name, belonging to Portugal. Also known as the island of flowers and the birthplace of famous footballer Ronaldo, Madeira has a centuries old wine making tradition.
The breakthrough came in the 15th century when Europeans, not least the Portuguese, started exploring the far corners of the world. On their voyages, the explorers would bring wine with them.
However, the ordeal of long sea voyages tended to spoil normal wine with its relatively low alcohol content. The Portuguese solved this by adding neutral grape brandy with higher alcohol content to the barrels. By doing so they bumped up the overall percentage.
According to the story, a shipment of unsold wine returned to Madeira after a long voyage on board a ship. The wine had been exposed to high temperatures and excessive movement on the way, which had altered the flavour of the wine. This became the cornerstone of the style of the Madeira wines that we know today.
Shipping wine around the globe unnecessarily was quickly deemed an inefficient way to age and mature the wine, so other methods were invented. Artificial heat, now as then, matures the wines and creates the unique flavour profile.
Only the most exclusive and expensive wines are matured by the natural heat from the sun. You can read much more on the topic here.
is Madeira wine red or white?
That's a really complicated question. It's actually neither, Madeira wine can be made from red or white grapes. In either case, most of the time it's made using red grapes.
That doesn't mean that the wine is red though! It's actually golden-brownish in colour, depending on the age. So, when dealing with Madeira wine, don't think about the colour. Think about the flavour profile instead.
By the way, now that I think of it, if you are looking to drink some Madeira wine, you might like to accompany it with these cheeses:
- Manchego cheese is my top pick - if you can't source one, check out these Manchego cheese substitutes
- ricotta cheese or these ricotta cheese substitutes (in a dessert)
- goat cheese with honey or try these goat's cheese substitutes
- madeira wine also pairs exceptionally well with andouille sausage of these substitutes
- as a last resort you can pair it with Monterey Jack cheese or these substitutes