Mad for madeiras

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“When I tasted these Madeiras, they were like a revelation,” gushed Amy Bennett, co-owner of the Fort Greene wine shop Greene Grape. “The first one I tried was literally like the most delicious piece of toffee.”

And just like Hanukkah gelt and Christmas cookies, madeiras are another hard-to-resist holiday sweet.

So, on Saturday, Dec. 15, Bennett has arranged a tasting event at her store to introduce neighbors to this family of fortified wines.

“Madeira was very popular in the 1880s and were all the rage when [local] brownstones were being built,” said Bennett of the wines that are rarely seen nowadays on restaurants’ lists. “On some historic menus, there were three or four other wines and half a page of Madeira.”

You can see for yourself, since any bottles purchased at the event will come with copies of vintage menus from the late 19th century. The opportunity to learn about her ’hood was part of the inspiration behind her party.

“It’s a combination of the historical aspect and the incredible flavor,” said Bennet. And no matter how dry certain history lessons can be, this one sounds like it might be right up our alley.

The Madeira tasting will take place from 5 pm to 7 pm on Dec. 15 at the Greene Grape (765 Fulton St. at South Oxford Street in Fort Greene). Free. For information, call (718) 797-9463 or visit

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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