Photo courtesy of Harry Angelo.
Everything old becomes new again. Madeira is a once-popular fortified wine favored by the Founding Fathers. Known for offering a savory, caramelized, nutty flavor, its style of production has fallen out of favor with drinkers seeking dry, unfortified wines. But St. Anselm, the union of Stephen Starr and Joe Carroll his market his tavern, has given guests reason to explore style. Dating back to the 1800s, he claims the restaurant, with over 60 bottles, has the largest selection of Madeira in the country. You can drink it by the ounce or in select flights. The latest addition to that list: St. Anselm’s own Madeira, made in collaboration with Vinhos Barbeito, one of the few producers left in the world.
“It was one of the first wines brought to America, but it certainly went astray,” says St. Anselm Beverage Manager Jack Zarecky. “And now St. Anselm is spearheading its redevelopment and reintegration into the world of wine.”
Madeira means that in addition to being fortified, neutral spirits like port and sherry are added to the wine. This wine is made on the Portuguese eponymous island off the coast of Morocco. The idea of heating wine is said to have come from tasting barrels of Madeira wine after a long, hot journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Wines range in sweetness levels and are known to age almost indefinitely. Zarecky’s team reached out to Rare Wine Company, one of his most respected Madeira importers in the country, and Vinhos Barbeito to begin the process of tasting and blending samples.
“Some liked the aroma, others liked the slight touch of residual sugar and fruit brought to the table,” he says.
The restaurant team settled on a medium-sweet style that can be paired with a variety of delicious dishes and desserts.Zarecky’s recommendations include the restaurant’s New York Strip and homemade peanut butter and molasses cookies. Guests can stop by St. He’s Anselm’s Bar and Dining His Room to taste the flavors offered at $12 an ounce and try them in cocktails. Fans can also get a bottle to take home for $128.