Column: Try Madeira after dinner

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I’ve been in New Orleans all week, enjoying some excellent food and wine. One of the loveliest parts of fine dining that most of us don’t think to include normally is an after-dinner drink. Many have properties to aid in the digestion of food and some are just a lovely treat. One such wine is Madeira, and it’s popularity has been growing in the last few years. Again.

Madeira is a fortified wine that’s made in Portugal. They are made of different grapes and labeled accordingly. From driest to sweetest, they are: Sercial, Verdelho, Bual and Malmsey.

When serving Madeira, be sure to have it at room temperature and never serve it over ice. Pour a few ounces into a glass, ideally with an elongated, tapered bowl. This provides plenty of room for wine to display its aromas for you to enjoy while sipping.

If you’re new to Madeira, these three are winners!

Blandy’s NV Alvada 5-Year-Old Rich Madeira, $15. Not too sweet, this one boasts walnut and dried fig flavors. With a somewhat acidic finish, this would be delish served after steak or with some strong blue cheese. Amber in color.

I love the Broadbent NV Malmsey 10 Year, $49. Reminds me of Raisinets: grapey and chocolatey with just the right amount of sweetness. This one is rich and full bodied and an excellent choice with dessert. Golden.

My very fave is from a series of highly stylized Madeiras. Rare Wine Company NV Historic Series Charleston Sercial Reserve Madeira, $40. The idea of the series was to replicate America’s deep history with Madeira, and each wine is named for a city where the wine was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Not sweet and like an enormous mouthful of caramel.

Cheers!

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