"Madeira has been a stopping point since the 16th century for sailors wishing to take on board barrels of wine. Madeira wine is quite used to travelling around the world as this was the natural way of making it taste even better..."

My mother always referred to me fondly as Madeira when I was a child. I was small with large green eyes and white-blonde hair that she curled every morning. I think this was something about the 1970s, that girls all appeared in the classroom every morning in ringlets with starched blouses, wool skirts and patent leather shoes.

I have since learned 0f the wine, originating in the Madeira islands, from which vintage bottles can still be found dating as old as 1772.

There are five types of Madeira wine:

Sercial is made from white grapes grown at about 800 m or above. Younger wines can be served lightly chilled. Drink with consommé or as an accompaniment to light seafood and even sushi, served chilled at the end of a meal.

Verdelho grapes are white, grown at 400-600m and make medium-dry wine for drinking with meat. Good with light seafood.

Bual wine is rich and nutty, made from white grapes grown on terraces below 400m. Can be served as an alternative to port. Goes well with cheeses and desserts, especially toffee.

Malmsey is the most celebrated Madeira, is made from Malvasia grapes. A rich and robust wine with an appealing caramelised quality. Good as an after dinner digestive, perfect with chocolate mousse.

No name on the bottle brand: Tinta Negra Mole Madeira. This red grape occupies the biggest percentage of vineyards on the island. There are four styles, dry, medium dry, medium rich and rich. This Madeira comes as a 3 year old, 5 year old and 10 year old wine.

This island wine is rich in history, back from the days when sailors stopped to load barrels of this delicacy for the civilized world.

In modest temperance,


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