The history of Madeira wine stretches back to the Age of Exploration, when Madeira was a frequent port of call for ships whose captains would fuel up on wine—fortified to prevent spoilage—for their trans-Atlantic journey. The blazing heat of the sea voyage transformed the flavor of the wines, a metamorphosis reproduced by a process called estufagem during which the wines are heated to as high as 50°C (140°F) and oxidized. Begun in 1996, Broadbent Madeira was inspired by Bartholomew Broadbent’s father, Michael Broadbent, who called Madeira his “desert island wine,” and who played a crucial role along with his wife, Daphne, in sourcing the wines and establishing the blends.
Region: Madeira Island, Portugal
Year Founded: 1996 [though purchased wines back to 1933]
Proprietors: Bartholomew Broadbent
Winemaker: Juan Teixeira
Size of property: Madeira companies generally do not own their own land, they buy from a wide array of grape growers. Currently the island has about 1.400 grape growers.
Amount of Property Planted: around 450 ha
Terroir: The island of Madeira has an oceanic, tropically-influenced climate and volcanic soil. With high rainfall and an average mean temperature of 19°C (66°F), fungal diseases and botrytis are constant hazards. To combat these threats, Madeira vineyards are often planted in low trellises known as latada that raise the canopy off the ground. The wine is cultivated in terraced steps of grey basaltic bedrock called poios. Broadbent Madeira is made in the classic British style. All of the Broadbent Madeira's spent time in 650 or 350 liters casks. Some of them with more than 100 old.
Annual Production: According to market demand, though total production of non-cooking Madeira on the island is approximately 100,000 cases.
Varieties Cultivated: Sercial, Verdelho, Boal, Malvasia, Terrantez, Tinta Negra, Complexa and Triunfo
Cellar Door: By appointment only.