Madeira Traditions: Case 8

American wine history must include a chapter on Madeira wine.  Now almost unknown, it was one of America’s greatest wines in many respects, although not American.

From the island of Madeira off the African coast, it was very popular with pro-American colonists.  An unusual wine, the best improved greatly with heat-aging and could live for centuries.  Expensive, prized and limited to the wealthy class, its use flourished about 1750-1850, and later as old bottles remained. 

There is much lore about its use from the founding fathers to the twentieth century.  See professor Samuel Eliot Morison’s hosted dinner; trace the history of Nautilus Madeira 1810, consumed in 1936!

A chapter on Madeira is not enough, a book may be.

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