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Book cover of Richard Mayson's guide, Madeira, The Islands and Their Wines, with an aerial view of vineyards on the coast, with the sea to the right. Published by Académie du Vin Library.


The Islands and Their Wines

By (author) Richard Mayson


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  • Author is one of the world’s foremost authorities on Madeira wine
  • The first edition of this book (2015) was shortlisted for an André Simon Award
  • More than 400 Madeiras tasted, some dating back to the eighteenth century
Full Description

Madeira is unique among wines. While heat and air cause most wines to deteriorate, they are instrumental in the ageing of Madeira, producing distinctive and enthralling wines. Decades (in some cases over a century) of ageing result in a wine that is virtually indestructible and which remains stable for many months, even years, once opened – a great advantage with an expensive old wine. More than thirty years ago Richard Mayson was seduced by the romance of tasting history through these wines. Since then he has accumulated a wealth of knowledge, enabling him to write a truly authoritative book on the modern world of Madeira wine. Historical sources are also invaluable when discussing wines being released today, since many were actually created in a bygone era.

Madeira begins by looking at the history of the islands and their wines and examining the geographical and climatic influences. The chapters covering the vineyards and winemaking techniques have been updated for this edition as knowledge of this enigmatic wine continues to be revealed. To the profiles of the producers, with notes on their typical wines, Mayson is pleased to add a new shipping firm, founded in 2012. A chapter on the shippers provides background information and tasting notes on more than 400 wines, many re-tasted since the first edition. Mayson then provides an insightful chapter unravelling the language of tasting Madeira and explaining how to buy, keep and serve the wine, and concludes with a guide to visiting the islands. The book is completed with detailed appendices. This thoroughly updated text makes essential reading for Madeira aficionados and will inspire newcomers to sample the delights of these singular wines.

About the Author

Richard Mayson is an award-winning wine writer and an authority on Portuguese wine. A lecturer and consultant, he writes for Decanter and The World of Fine Wine and is a contributor to the Oxford Companion to Wine, the Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine and the World Atlas of Wine. His books include Port and the Douro, Madeira: The Islands and Their Wines and The Wines of Portugal. He is Chair of the Decanter World Wine Awards for Port and Madeira Wine.

Academie du Vin Library
6th Feb 2024
Paperback / softback
World excluding Australia
234 mm x 156 mm
340 Pages
16 color, 26 b&w
Name of series
The Classic Wine Library
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