Madeira The Island Vineyard
Noel Cossart's beloved book is once again available, in a rich illustrated and greatly expanded new edition.
For more than 500 years, Madeira has been made from the slopes of a volcanic island off the coast of Morocco. There was a time, in the late 1700s and early 1800s, when it was the English-speaking world’s most revered beverage, but a century of vine calamities, wars and economic disasters nearly ended its production and caused a long descent into oblivion.
Yet, Madeira’s virtual immortality insured its eventual rediscovery. Today, we can still find bottles of Madeira made in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries whose vivid flavors and powerful aromas argue that this is among the world's greatest wines.
Of all the books ever written about Madeira, the most admired is Noël Cossart’s Madeira, The Island Vineyard. Noël was the fourth, and final, generation of his family to manage Madeira's most important wine producer, Cossart, Gordon. He entered the firm in 1925 and managed it from 1936 until 1953, when economic conditions forced him to sell the firm's assets to the Madeira Wine Association.
When Noël retired from the wine business in 1976, his old friend from Christie's, Michael Broadbent, convinced him to draw on his long experience and deep family archives to write Madeira, The Island Vineyard, which was published by Christie's in 1984.
Noël's book was very warmly received. Yet, it had only one printing and soon became scarce even in second-hand bookstores. But with the new millennium, interest in Madeira has grown—and so has demand for Noël's book. By the summer of 2010, the average asking price for the first edition ofMadeira, The Island Vineyard on the antiquarian book market reached $500.
This richly illustrated new edition of Madeira, The Island Vineyard makes Noël’s words available again. But it also benefits from extensive new material, including the first published history of Noël’s own life; an unprecedented compilation of Madeira auction prices from the 1970s to the present, and Noël’s private correspondence with several other wine scholars in the months following the book’s 1984 publication.