A while ago a colleague sent me some pictures of a an old bottle of Madeira that they’d “bought at a charity auction… No clues (about what it is) as it’s completely waxed and has maybe been redone.”
Having stared intently at the photos of the label, and delved into my archives, I concluded that it was a bottle of 1810 Rumo da India Madeira.
The Dutch East India Company used to pick up casks of Madeira wine and take them to India. The intense heat and constant movement of the ships had a profound effect on the wine and led to Madeira becoming a fortified wine that is heated in “estufas” to replicate the conditions of the long journey south.
This bottle is probably one of the very oldest surviving examples of Madeira wine that made the trip to India and back in cask.
The wine was bottled at some point and I understand that these bottles were later recorked and rewaxed by the Araujo family.
It’s nominally for sale (make us an offer that we can’t refuse…) but we’d prefer to open it at an event (remember what they are…?) with a few like-minded friends who will join us in a Flanders & Swann singalong:
“Have some madeira, m’dear,
It’s so very much nicer than beer.
I don’t care for sherry, one cannot drink stout,
And port is a wine I can well do without.
It’s simply a case of chacun á son gout.
Have some madeira, m’dear!”