Madeira Wine: A Drink To Independence

Learn About Madeira Wine Benjamin Franklin once said, “If your head is wax, don’t walk in the sun.” He was probably drinking his favorite wine, Madeira, when he said it. And then he got all of his friends to drink Madeira to toast the signing of the Declaration of Independence. That was a good trick. Madeira wine is another fortified wine that comes from a little island southwest of Portugal called, well, Madeira. The ilha da madeira or island of the woods is closer to the Moroccan coast than it is to Portugal but is property of Portugal nonetheless. Like Port wine, Madeira is blended with Brandy to fortify it and got its tradition much the same way as Port. But add the fact that as the Madeira cooked in the heat of the equator on its voyages to Africa, India and South America it took on a deliciously baked toffee-caramel flavor, which made it an instant success and remains the main characteristic of Madeira today, some four hundred years later. When Phylloxera (a grapevine-root eating pest that looks like a giant aphid) killed off most of the “noble” grapevines in the 19th century, Tinta Negra Mole, a versatile red [...]