Slow Food Columbus

Taste Education: Madeira

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IT WAS 1999, and I was racking my brain for a 65th birthday present for my mother.  A significant birthday deserved celebration, I thought, and a present that reflected the passage of time.  Her Happy Hour beverage of choice, Scotch, rarely if ever gets that old, so I started turning over the possibilities until I came to…

Madeira.

Fortified wine, created during the Great Depression, stored through the Second World War and the subsequent decades, right up to the turn of the millennium.  Quietly waiting, slowly developing, gently increasing in complexity and depth for decade after decade… I’d found my present.  A bit of exploration and a few phone calls later, the bottle of 1934 Madeira was on its way.

Fast-forward seven months to my annual Christmas visit.  After I arrived and got settled in, I happened to ask about the bottle of Madeira.  “Oh, it was wonderful!” my mother replied—and I can only hope that I managed to keep my shock and disappointment at her use of the past tense from registering on my face.  As the visit progressed, one guest after another mentioned the Madeira and how good it had been, and I realized that she must have brought it out for practically every friend and relative who came to visit.  It was a tribute both to her innate conviviality and to the quality of the beverage itself.

So when Landon Proctor mused on Twitter that he might like to hold a Madeira tasting, I didn’t hesitate to suggest that I might know some people who’d like to join him.  I secretly hoped that he’d find a Madeira as old as the one that I found for my mother; to my surprise, he exceeded my expectations by securing a bottle from 1910 (!!).  I can’t imagine what it will taste like—but I’m really looking forward to trying it, along with seven others, at DeepWood this Saturday night.  For more details and to buy tickets, check out our Events page.



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