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Mar 9, 2007 02:17 PM

uses for maderized wine?

I have some once great and now maderized white and red wines I hate to toss away. I'd like to learn a way to save the stuff, if possible.

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  1. Are you referring to wine that was not intended to be maderized that now has been? If so, there isn't much you can do with it -- I wouldn't even make vinegar with it as it will give your vinegar an off taste.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Carrie 218

      Guess I don't understand enough about the process of making wine vinegar. Every home-scale vinegar op I've seen is exposed to air. Is it possible to convert wine to vinegar without it going through an oxidative step? A maderized wine is one that has oxidized, and I'm curious about how you prevent wine from becoming maderized on the way to becoming vinegar to prevent the taste flaw you mention.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        I don't believe a maderized wine is one that has necessarily been oxidized by oxygen and that is where there is a flavor difference.

        I would be willing to bet that if you simply put a bottle of wine in the trunk of your car for a week and then added that to a vinegar pot (I keep a home vinegar brew going), it would adversely affect the flavor of the vinegar.

        1. re: Carrie 218

          Maderized means 1) oxidized or 2) affected by oxygen in combination with heat. I just want to make sure that we're talking about the same thing in answering the question at hand.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            I guess I've been only going by the Oxford version (

            ""Oxidized" is frequently used to describe maderization. Oxidized, speaking technically, relates to air contamination; maderization is associated more with improper storage near heat and sunlight and old age."

            1. re: Carrie 218

              That link is for the Oxford Wine Room site about wining and dining in New England.

              Lucky for us, the new, third edition of the _Oxford Companion to Wine_ launched online (subscription service) yesterday. A shy 'hound just emailed me the entry for maderization, written by ADW (Professor A. Dinsmoor Webb),


              Occasionally madeirization, is the process by which a wine is made to
              taste like Madeira, involving mild oxidation over a long period and,
              usually, heat. Such a wine is said to be maderized. Although this tasting
              term is occasionally applied pejoratively to mean that a wine is oxidized,
              it should properly be applied only to wines with a high enough alcoholic
              strength to inhibit the action of acetobacter, which would otherwise
              transform the wine into vinegar. Very few maderized wines are made today
              by simply ageing the wine at cellar temperature (although this was once a
              technique practised for making fuller sherry styles outside Jerez); the
              oxidation process is instead hastened by heating or 'baking' the wine as
              on the island of Madeira. Oxidation reactions, like most organic chemical
              reactions, can be roughly doubled in speed by a temperature rise of 10
              °C/18 °F. For example, a wine requiring ten years at a cellar temperature
              of 20 °C to develop a maderized character could manifest approximately,
              although not exactly, the same character after about two and a half years
              at 40 °C or 15 months at 50 °C. Maderized wines are normally amber to
              brown in colour and have a distinctive cooked or mildly caramelized
              flavour. Wines processed at excessively high temperatures may taste burnt
              and harsh. Most such wines and especially those made from American vines
              or American hybrids are fortified and sweetened before being marketed.
              Madeira and similar wines such as early sherry-style wines made in
              California were particularly popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries
              but have since fallen out of fashion. See also rancio wines.


              Oxidation is indeed a part of maderization.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                No disagreement on that part -- but part of the discussion was going back to the use of a maderized wine in vinegar which, if it were truly an intentionally-maderized wine, it would have higher alcohol and thus be a bit on the sweet side; something you wouldn't want in a homemade vinegar. Just oxydized wine is fine in homemade vinegar but fortified wines should be left out of homemade vinegar. Depending on the level of unintentional maderization, if the wine "cooked" at all, it could ruin the flavor of a good homemade vinegar.

                Thanks for adding that info -- my older Oxford had too much info to want to transcribe!

    2. With maderized white, cooking! It's very similar to sherry. Maderized red wine. though, I've always been chicken to try in a recipe (but then, I don't like red wine in cooking, anyway).

      1. I've braised beef ribs in unintentionally maderized red wine for a few hours and they were delicious. In fact, I've since made the same recipe with 'good' wine, and I definitely preferred the maderized version.

        I think the key is that maderized wine doesn't actually taste bad (as in offensive), rather it's just not something you'd want to sip a whole glass of. Maybe don't use the red to cook for company, but it's definitely worth trying as part of a braising medium (especially with cheap cuts of meat).

        1 Reply
        1. re: mtl to tor

          This is exactly what I was looking for. I brought a bottle of Russian champagne home for the Soviet Union. We were there when the plane landed in Red Square so I saved a bottle to commemorate the event. I stored it in my closet which is dark but warm and just opened it last Friday, August 28. Of course there was no pop, lol, but I passed a glass around anyway and it was surprisingly good and tasted like Sherry and was very sweet. I immediately thought it would make a great marinade for steak and that is what I intend to do. It is totally drinkable but I do not like sweet wines and will not just drink it. Hmmm, hmmm, I can just imagine how great it is going to be as a marinade along with the onions and garlic. Thanks for the information.

        2. Sorry, kids, but the best use is as a drain cleaner. I can digest almost anything and endure just about any flavor, so I figure if something makes me want to hurl it's almost inevitably toxic.

          1. Thank you, Will. I am not alone.