On our visit earlier this year to Napa Rose, a restaurant in the Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland Resort, we were intrigued by the selection of Madeira wine. It was listed on the dessert menu — with ages up to over 100 years old! The bottle we tasted used grapes harvested in 1914, although the wine wasn’t bottled until 2005.
This type of wine is from the island of Madeira off the coast of Africa. The grapes are harvested very early, which makes for higher than normal acidity and allows for the unusual aging process. Madeira winemakers allow the wine to heat and cool repeatedly and expose it to oxygen — not something you’re typically supposed to do with wine. The wine may mature in barrels for a hundred years or more, yielding the unusual color you see in our glass. Our pour had a pleasant raisiny flavor and wasn’t too sweet. We’d definitely order it again to accompany dessert.