1845 Cossart Gordon Madeira Bual Solera, Bottled in 1971
Last night I had the fortune of tasting wine from the 19th century. Madeira is the immortal wine; impervious to heat and oxygen, which it is subjected to over many years of aging in large barrels called pipes. The Cossart Gordon spent one-hundred and twenty-six years baking, oxidizing and evaporating in its barrel before it was finally bottled.
Madeira is an island in the Atlantic that falls under Portugal’s jurisdiction. It was a major stop on colonial trade routes. Early wines produced on the island deteriorated before they reached their destination. It was only after the practice of fortification became widely used that the true potential of Madeira was revealed. It was found that the wines tasted considerably better after rolling around in the hull of ships going to destinations around the world. It was the most popular beverage in the American colonies – it is the wine that was used to toast the Declaration of Independence.
My last post was a rant on the ridiculous nature of tasting notes so I’ll do my best to maintain my dignity through this one: It was as brown as coffee and the legs never fell from the glass. The nose and texture were akin to maple syrup. It was sweet, but not cloying. For as high of an alcohol content as it had, it did not burn the palate like port often does. In a word – delicious!
It served as the climax of a wonderful meal at The American Restaurant in Kansas City. Due to its indestructible nature, Madeira is able to be offered by the glass. It was an ideal accompaniment to the dark chocolate tort we had for dessert.