The story of the 2011 “John Marshall Declaration”.

The islands of Madeira have a long winemaking history, dating back to the Age of Exploration when Madeira was a standard port of call for ships heading to the New World or East Indies. The intense heat in the holds of the ships had a transforming effect on the wine, as discovered by Madeira producers when one shipment was returned to the island after a long trip. The 18th century was the “golden age” for Madeira. The wine’s popularity extended from the American colonies and Brazil in the New World to Great Britain, Russia, and Northern Africa. The American colonies were enthusiastic customers, consuming as much as 95% of all wine produced on the island each year.  The wine was a perfect fit for the new nation – because it had been cooked and oxidized, it would not spoil after being opened and thus was the perfect and safe way to quench the thirst of exploration and expansion!

Chief Justice John Marshall was known to appreciate Madeira, as well as his cohorts on the early U.S. Supreme Court. The United States Constitution was toasted with Madeira and George Washington drank a pint of Madeira every day with dinner. Madeira was a favorite of Marshall’s cousin Thomas Jefferson, and it was used to toast the Declaration of Independence. Marshall’s mentor, George Washington, as well as Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, and Marshall’s political mentor John Adams are also said to have appreciated the qualities of Madeira. A bottle of Madeira was used by visiting Captain James Server to christen the USS Constitution in 1797.

This very select wine is by far the most limited and special ever from the hearts and minds of our winemakers.  Made in the traditional style with sun and air aging.  Four years in oak barrel and over a year in bottle prior to release.  Only 82 cases were produced, with every bottle hand numbered. The wine is balanced and incredibly stable – with cling peach and orange blossom notes.  Once opened and recorked, the wine will remain drinkable for months if not years.

At Barrel Oak, “We Make Wine So That Others Can Taste the Joy of Life in Every Drop.”  Take pleasure.