Like most great discoveries, Madeira’s origin came about in a somewhat accidental fashion. Stored in the belly of ships during long overseas voyages, the wine underwent excessive heat and constant movement. Wondering why the wine tasted so much better after months on a ship than it did when it left the island, the shipping companies found that the heat process helped “age” the Madeira, giving it a more desirable flavor. Soon, methods were created to replicate the long, hot ship voyages and the “estufagem” (or “oven”) process was developed.
HISTORY OF THE HAAK MADEIRA
It all started with a passion for Port. Founder Raymond Haak began making Port wine in 1969, but it wouldn’t be until 2000 when he saw his passion become a success. With the opening of Haak Vineyards & Winery in 2000, the Haak Port wine was introduced and became an instant hit! The entire offering was sold out within two weeks, and customers called in asking for more.
Knowing he was on to something, Raymond attended a wine symposium in 2004. A master of wine noted that the Haak Port reminded him of a classic Madeira. Inspired, Raymond set off to make a Texas Madeira and the results would be astounding.
Check out this wonderful YouTube video on the History of Madeira by clicking here.
DRINKING IN THE RESEARCH
To really understand the subtle elegance of this wine, Raymond Haak spent two years researching its complexities. He traveled to the island of Madeira, Portugal to see first-hand how the island’s namesake wine was born. After taking notes and studying Madeira methods, Raymond came back to Texas, where he built an authentic estufa, or temperature controlled cellar, to capture the results he was looking for.
A STAR IS BORN
The first Haak Madeira was released to the public on November 5, 2006. A warm reception brought this new wine into the spotlight. Raymond entered it into a blind tasting of world-class Madeiras, where his Haak Madeira beat out a classic Charleston Sercial Historic Series Madeira, a blended wine 10 to 50 years old. But what was even more surprising was the fact that the Haak Madeira scored only one point below a 59-year-old D’Oliveira Sercial — a wine that had received a 93 by Wine Spectator magazine.
For this young, three-year-old Madeira, this was truly remarkable. Proving that Texas could indeed produce premium world-class wines, Raymond became known for his Texas Madeira. Today, the Haak Madeira is produced from Haak’s signature Blanc du Bois grape, grown locally at the Haak vineyard.