Any Madeira love?

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Any Madeira love?

Post by Falstaff » December 17th 2015, 12:26pm

This holiday time of year, I often find myself with a glass of Madeira rather than Scotch or Irish with my evening cigar. Sweet, yes - but the sweetness is well balanced by the very high acidity resulting in profound flavors of caramel, coffee, nuts and citrus - high test fruitcake in a glass. Nice thing about Madeira is that it lasts practically forever. As a result of its production method, it is almost completely oxidized prior to being bottled so there's nothing to "go off" or change as a result of oxidation as it ages. Pretty fucking tasty with a Cubano puro - or a fine Dominican.

Recently I attended a dinner in Philadelphia at the Hill-Physick house (built by Henry Hill - colonial America's only non-British Madeira shipper) held to announce the arrival of The Rare Wine Company's latest Historical series Madeira bottling to honor the Library Company of Philadelphia - America's oldest social institution, founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin. The high point (for me) of the affair was a tasting of some vintage madeiras from 1824, 1863, 1865, 1866, and 1870 provided by The Rare Wine Co. and Vinhos Barbeita. They were amazing.

Lady F. and I will hold our usual New Year's Day open house featuring a traditional Southern buffet of ham, black-eyed peas, collard greens, cornbread and ambrosia - with champagne, eggnog and Madeira to complement Lady F's superb fruitcake. I've won many a Madeira convert as a result.

So - any other Lords with a taste for the favorite tipple of America's founding fathers?
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Re: Any Madeira love?

Post by Falstaff » December 17th 2015, 12:38pm

foghorn wrote:I drink cheap beer.


I'm a PBR (among others) man myself - have been for years - way before the porkpie hat wearing hipsters with those skinny glasses "discovered" it.
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Re: Any Madeira love?

Post by Falstaff » December 17th 2015, 1:03pm

Wasp wrote:A handle well selected. Tis the season to enjoy in excess. Don't mind if I do.

Cheers!


Salute, sir - best of the season to you and yours! Excess indeed! Got to avoid the fate though, of George Plantagenet, the Duke of Clarence, who in 1478 was either assassinated or simply drowned - by falling drunk into a vat of malmsey Madeira.
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Re: Any Madeira love?

Post by gerdson » December 17th 2015, 1:08pm

Madeira... I don't know. Seriously, I don't. But I do like a glass of Portwine. :D
Haven't had any in quite a while though. Malt Whisky is better.
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Re: Any Madeira love?

Post by Falstaff » December 17th 2015, 4:53pm

gerdson wrote:Madeira... I don't know. Seriously, I don't. But I do like a glass of Portwine. :D
Haven't had any in quite a while though. Malt Whisky is better.


Nothing wrong with a glass of Port - whether vintage, a 10 or 20 year-old tawny or a robust young ruby. I'm particularly fond of Delaforce's 10 yr. tawny "His Eminence's Choice" and as far as rubies - give me Warre's "Warrior".
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Re: Any Madeira love?

Post by biglove » December 18th 2015, 5:30am

Have never tried it.

This time of year is full of three favorites:
Southern Comfort egg nog with brandy
hot chocolate with cinnamon schnapps
Irish coffee with either Bailey's or Red Breast

Oh, I originally misread the title and thought this was about Tyler Perry...

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Re: Any Madeira love?

Post by abduksion » December 18th 2015, 9:56am

Falstaff wrote:
abduksion wrote:Thought you were talking about the Portuguese wine?


Yup - I am.

I stand corrected wasnt 100% sure because you mentioned Ben Franklin. My bad. :oops:
My grandfather use to make homemade wine yrs ago Im talking when I was a kid from
the grapes my grandparents had from their grapvine. If your Portuguese like my family
almost every family has a grapvine.
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Re: Any Madeira love?

Post by Falstaff » December 18th 2015, 10:02am

Hawk wrote:Can't say as I've ever tried it but now I'm curious.


Classically, madeiras are ranged according to degree of sweetness - from the "off dry" Sercial to the somewhat sweeter Verdelho to the definitely sweet Bual (or Boal, as some have it) up to the sweetest, Malmsey. Another variation is "Rainwater" - so named by a clever shipper whose barrels allowed some rain water to leak in during the trip from Madeira (talk about making lemonade when life hands you lemons). In fact, the "rainwater" style became extremely popular during the colonial period. Generally the South preferred the somewhat drier (Sercial, Verdelho) styles whereas Northern tastes ran toward the sweeter (Bual, Malmsey) bottlings. All styles, whether sweeter or drier, will exhibit some degree of the caramelly, nutty, citrusy, fruitcakey flavor profile to a greater or lesser extent - as (with port or sherry) each house has its own style.

The labels most available in the U.S. are Blandy's and Broadbent - with (IMO) Broadbent having a definite "fineness" edge over Blandy's bottlings - though Blandy's is by no means inferior. Both houses offer a full range of classic styles. You may also run across offerings from The Rare Wine Co. (of California) who works hand-in-hand with Vinhos Barbeito (one of the historic Madeira houses) to recreate historically accurate styles (Boston Bual, Charleston Sercial, etc.) as well as the "Historic Series" that I mentioned above commemorating various historical individuals or institutions. These are generally very limited bottlings (typically 500 bottles) and are usually priced around (a very reasonable) $70 - $80 btl. Most houses offer half bottles as well - ideal for giving Madeira a try-out. Personally, I lean toward the Bual style, but also enjoy a quality Malmsey or Verdelho. There is also (surprisingly) a substantial amount of vintage madeira out there - such as those tasted at the dinner I mentioned - available for mere hundreds of dollars per bottle - as opposed to a cru classe' Bordeaux of the same vintage (say 1870, for instance) priced in the tens of thousands per bottle. This again is due to the extraordinary ability of madeira to age without deteriorating.

Mssrs. Loaf and Hawk - to your very good health, sirs!
Last edited by Falstaff on December 18th 2015, 10:12am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Any Madeira love?

Post by Falstaff » December 18th 2015, 10:09am

abduksion wrote:
Falstaff wrote:
abduksion wrote:Thought you were talking about the Portuguese wine?


Yup - I am.

I stand corrected wasnt 100% sure because you mentioned Ben Franklin. My bad. :oops:
My grandfather use to make homemade wine yrs ago Im talking when I was a kid from
the grapes my grandparents had from their grapvine. If your Portuguese like my family
almost every family has a grapvine.


No bad - and no correction needed, Kev. Ben Franklin had a great taste for madeira. As you note, many families in Portugal (as well as Portugese-Americans) and its island of Madeira still grow their own grapes and make their own wine for household use. You ought to carry on the tradition! Your grand parents would be proud.
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Re: Any Madeira love?

Post by biglove » December 18th 2015, 2:19pm

Falstaff wrote:
Hawk wrote:Can't say as I've ever tried it but now I'm curious.


Classically, madeiras are ranged according to degree of sweetness - from the "off dry" Sercial to the somewhat sweeter Verdelho to the definitely sweet Bual (or Boal, as some have it) up to the sweetest, Malmsey. Another variation is "Rainwater" - so named by a clever shipper whose barrels allowed some rain water to leak in during the trip from Madeira (talk about making lemonade when life hands you lemons). In fact, the "rainwater" style became extremely popular during the colonial period. Generally the South preferred the somewhat drier (Sercial, Verdelho) styles whereas Northern tastes ran toward the sweeter (Bual, Malmsey) bottlings. All styles, whether sweeter or drier, will exhibit some degree of the caramelly, nutty, citrusy, fruitcakey flavor profile to a greater or lesser extent - as (with port or sherry) each house has its own style.

The labels most available in the U.S. are Blandy's and Broadbent - with (IMO) Broadbent having a definite "fineness" edge over Blandy's bottlings - though Blandy's is by no means inferior. Both houses offer a full range of classic styles. You may also run across offerings from The Rare Wine Co. (of California) who works hand-in-hand with Vinhos Barbeito (one of the historic Madeira houses) to recreate historically accurate styles (Boston Bual, Charleston Sercial, etc.) as well as the "Historic Series" that I mentioned above commemorating various historical individuals or institutions. These are generally very limited bottlings (typically 500 bottles) and are usually priced around (a very reasonable) $70 - $80 btl. Most houses offer half bottles as well - ideal for giving Madeira a try-out. Personally, I lean toward the Bual style, but also enjoy a quality Malmsey or Verdelho. There is also (surprisingly) a substantial amount of vintage madeira out there - such as those tasted at the dinner I mentioned - available for mere hundreds of dollars per bottle - as opposed to a cru classe' Bordeaux of the same vintage (say 1870, for instance) priced in the tens of thousands per bottle. This again is due to the extraordinary ability of madeira to age without deteriorating.

Mssrs. Loaf and Hawk - to your very good health, sirs!


Sounds tasty as hell! Will have to give it a try some day.
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Re: Any Madeira love?

Post by abduksion » December 18th 2015, 6:17pm

Falstaff wrote:
abduksion wrote:
Falstaff wrote:
abduksion wrote:Thought you were talking about the Portuguese wine?


Yup - I am.

I stand corrected wasnt 100% sure because you mentioned Ben Franklin. My bad. :oops:
My grandfather use to make homemade wine yrs ago Im talking when I was a kid from
the grapes my grandparents had from their grapvine. If your Portuguese like my family
almost every family has a grapvine.


No bad - and no correction needed, Kev. Ben Franklin had a great taste for madeira. As you note, many families in Portugal (as well as Portugese-Americans) and its island of Madeira still grow their own grapes and make their own wine for household use. You ought to carry on the tradition! Your grand parents would be proud.

I would but he threw out the machine to make them. The grapes my grandparents grow
are sweet but contain giant seeds. Their not your grocery store grapes more sweet. My
aunt as made grape jelly from them also.
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Re: Any Madeira love?

Post by 3Flushes » December 18th 2015, 10:49pm

Falstaff wrote: madeiras from 1824, 1863, 1865, 1866, and 1870 ...


I certainly hope there were Best By dates on those bottles. This shindig sounds like a big deal, couldn't they have brought something fresh? :P

That party sounds like fun Fals, any brandy to go with them ceegars?
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Re: Any Madeira love?

Post by bedlam » December 18th 2015, 11:04pm

Never had the sweet tooth sufficient to get into the Madeiras and Ports....and not really into wines. An unpeated single malt would be as close as I get ';-)

Speaking of which, I was drinking a rather brutish Bruichladdich 10 yr old just this week. Quite an amazing drop :shock:
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Re: Any Madeira love?

Post by Falstaff » December 20th 2015, 8:31am

bedlam wrote:Never had the sweet tooth sufficient to get into the Madeiras and Ports....and not really into wines. An unpeated single malt would be as close as I get ';-)

Speaking of which, I was drinking a rather brutish Bruichladdich 10 yr old just this week. Quite an amazing drop :shock:



Yup, some of the younger "laddies" are big brawny fellows indeed - certainly memorable for their sheer "presence" if not their finesse.
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Re: Any Madeira love?

Post by eddiea » December 20th 2015, 1:49pm

Stopped smoking cigars a couple years back, still however like Madeira and just after my birthday this past October, I got me a 1986 Barbeito Malvasia Faja dos Padres Madeira...highly recommended!
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Re: Any Madeira love?

Post by Falstaff » December 21st 2015, 12:42pm

eddiea wrote:Stopped smoking cigars a couple years back, still however like Madeira and just after my birthday this past October, I got me a 1986 Barbeito Malvasia Faja dos Padres Madeira...highly recommended!


Color me jealous!
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