The tiny Atlantic island belonging to Portugal is home to the most beguiling fortified wines. Lauded for their searing acidity, these wines are some of the longest livers in the world. The island’s strategic position explains its long history with shipping, particularly as a pit stop en route to India during the 17th Century. The rugged island is an unlikely home for viticulture, and nearly all the vineyards are tiny, step-like terraces clinging to the sheer hillsides that tumble down to the Atlantic waters below. Production methods vary, but are centred on the ‘estufa’ system, where heat and oxygen exposure during long ageing and cross-vintage blending contribute the wine’s characteristic ‘maderised’ character.