Friday, February 8, 2008

Madeira- A British Love Affair

This is the first of a two-part story about an aged British Madeira, and the imported goodies consumed with the luscious nectar.

Brits have a soft spot for Madeira.

This I discovered when a regular wine bar patron said one of the things he was most anticipating upon his return to England during Christmas was that fine Portuguese island dessert wine. “You don’t often see good Madeira around here,” he said, chuckling. Indeed.

Well, it just happens that before my husband was born, his parents lived in England for three years. And, my husband’s older brother is a dual citizen of England and the U.S, because he was born in Britain. Furthermore, it is possible (I don't want to pry) that my husband was conceived in England. Accordingly, my husband (lets call him Chim Chim), is almost British. So he loves Madeira too.

Knowing that Chim Chim (let’s call him CC) is a fan of the Portuguese dessert wine, I was very happy when the aforementioned regular bar patron offered to bring me back of bottle of fine Madeira when he returned from England. It was the good stuff, he said.

“I have access to some really great cellars,” he told me. Well, that statement alone is worth a post all in itself, but as I’m low on space, I’ll briefly describe some of his access.

1. Apparently, the older universities in England keep cellars of wine imported from their European neighbors and occasionally post grads- like our wine bar friend, can obtain or taste or a bottle or two. The colleges have been furnished these cellars for hundreds of years, he said, so they have some of the finest and most coveted wines you’ll see around. Okay. Cal wasn’t like this, and if Oxford was upfront about this in the application packets, I would have applied.
2. He knows a guy.

Now, I don’t now through which avenue he procured the Madeira he brought back to the U.S, but it is the kind of Madeira that I feel secure saying would be amazingly hard to find anywhere outside of England. Why? Because this Portuguese juice was the 1981 Anniversary Madeira bottled (just bottled, mind you, it had already just been aging in barrel for 25 years) to commemorate Princess Diana’s and Charles marriage. And its still there, commemorating. Except for the bottle in our cabinet- a quarter of which is commemorating in our stomachs.

Next post what we ate with the luscious bottle, and an exploration of Madeira.

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1 comment:

David J.D. said...

"Commemorating in our stomachs."