Forget Pappy Van Winkle and shots of Grand Ma. The signature tipple of Charleston was once Madeira, an aged, fortified wine that was the ultimate mark of wealth and sophistication during the Antebellum era. An 1850s mildew outbreak on the island of Madeira disrupted the wine's production, and in the wake of the Civil War all the old bottles disappeared one by one from Charleston, making them almost as rare as a unicorn. But you can recover a little of that lost wine history with the Madeira Flight at the Charleston Grill: three 1.5 ounce glasses of vintage Madeiras, the oldest dating all the way back to 1920. Slightly sweet with rich, complex spice notes, a 90-year-old wine is a thing of wonder.
© 2015 Charleston City Paper