Definition - What does Estufagem mean?
Estufagem is the unique process which makes Madeira wine unique. Historically, the original Madeira spent many months on the deck of ships in tropical climates during long voyages. This travel "cooked" the wine, and thus, created Madeira as we know it today. Via the estufagem process, this long voyage can be replicated by aging the base wine under three controlled conditions; Cuba de Calor, Armazém de Calor and Canteiro.
WineFrog explains Estufagem
Estufagem is the process by which Madeira wine goes through its final aging process. Originally, when fortified wines were transported across the Atlantic to hotter regions, the wine experienced a heating that created the style of Madeira we know today. The style became popular, and thus, there are now three main ways to create Madeira without traversing the oceans on long sea voyages:
- Cuba de Calor: This is the most common manner in which bulk amounts of fortified wine is aged in stainless steel or concrete tanks, heated by water-filled coils at 130 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 days.
- Armazém de Calor: is used by storing wine in wooden vessels which are outfitted with steam-pumping tanks in a room to heat the wine. It is similar to setting a wine in the sauna.
- Canteiro: is reserved for the higher qualities of Madeira in which the wine is aged in vessels that are stored and allowed to age by the sun's heat. Sometimes this can take up to 20 to 100 years.