Archive for the ‘Portuguese Wines’ Category

Madeira and the 4th of July revisited: More about America’s “First and Most Patriotic Wine”

July 3, 2015

written by Michael Oudyn

“I should prefer to an ordinary death, being immersed with a few friends in a cask of Madeira.”
Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography



The 4th of July is here and so I once again suggest that we patriotic Americans celebrate our birthday with a glass of Madeira, “America’s first” and ” greatest patriotic” wine. Last 4th of July I wrote about Madeira‘s relation to Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock,  the Constitutional Convention, the Louisiana Purchase, etc.

Since then more curious Founding Fathers/Madeira lore has come my way. Here is some of it.

This post’s lead quote comes notorious Madeira lover Benjamin Franklin who was said to have had more than a thousand bottles of Madeira in his private stash. In his Autobiography Franklin relates how “three common flies…that had been drowned in the Madeira bottle…fell into the first glass (of Madeira)” that was being poured at a friend’s house. Having heard that “drowned flies were capable of being revived by the sun” world-renowned scientist Franklin set up an impromptu experiment. When (more…)

Madeira: “America’s First” and “Most Patriotic” Wine for July 4th

June 28, 2014
Toasting July the 4th  with Madeira and Tom

July the 4th with Madeira and Jefferson

written by Michael Oudyn

July the 4th is just around the corner. So what should we patriotic Americans be drinking to celebrate our birthday?

Well, Madeira, the fabulous fortified wine from off the coast of Africa, gets my vote. Called “America’s first wine” and “America’s great patriotic wine” Madeira was immensely popular during colonial times and keeps popping up at key points in our early formative years.

One reason for its popularity was a tax loophole. British law forbade the colonists from importing goods directly from Europe; they had to pass through England and pay taxes and shipping costs. But Madeira was conveniently located off the coast of Africa and therefore exempt. And we all love a tax break; this much hasn’t changed. (more…)