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An American wine: Madeira has historic ties to U.S.

on 04/07/12 at 10:32 am


A dollar a year. That’s how much — how little, really — a bottle of good madeira will cost you.

Madeira, a wine from the Atlantic island of the same name, gets going only after a half century of age. And it never retires: Once aged, it is virtually static, offering its “combined intensity and complexity of vinous delights” (George Saintsbury, “Notes on a Cellarbook,” 1920) until nothing but its scent tarries in the bottle.

And, strangely enough, though from a governance of Portugal, it is the American wine. From the time of our original pilgrims until the Civil War, no wine was more favored on our shores than Madeira. Today, it is back with a grateful bang.