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I spent the past week drinking Madeira wines and I am still licking my lips. If you have not had Madeira, it is time to try it. It is not like any other wine you have ever had. And that is why it is the Please The Palate pick of the week. Madeira is a fortified wine, in which a neutral grape spirit is added. But, Madeira is also heated and oxidized, two things that we are always taught should never be done to wine. But, Madeira is the result of a centuries-old history. In the 1600s and 1700s, the wine was fortified in order to survive traveling on the sea. As the ships sailed through the tropics, the wine would be heated and cooled repeatedly, as well as exposed to oxygen. And that is how Madeira came to be.

I spent the past week hosting seminars and tastings in Boston and New York for Madeira wines. Fortunately, I was able to taste some of the wines as well. And...

As you get ready to warm up the barbeque and chill down the beer for your 4th of July parties, think about opening a bottle of Madeira to enjoy with your friends. Why Madeira?  Well, did you know that Madeira was a favorite of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, the founding fathers of the United States?  In fact, when they signed the Declaration of Independence, they toasted with Madeira. What is Madeira?  Madeira is the wine named for an island, and an island named for a wine.  Understanding Madeira is not an easy feat.  The winemaking process, grape varietals and wine styles are not like other wines that you are familiar with.