Discover the extraordinary saga of five bottles of Madeira from 1795, each a testament to enduring the turmoil of the French Revolution, a maritime pirate assault, and a geopolitical deadlock.
Immerse yourself in the riveting history of five extraordinary bottles of Madeira wine, each with a tale of survival from the tumultuous times of the 18th century.
Hezekiah Beers Pierpont, a prominent shipping merchant based in New York City, established the firm of Leffingwell and Pierpont in 1793. His business pursuits took him to England in 1795, where he acquired the ship, Confederacy, and set off on a trade expedition to China and India. This voyage had a significant stopover in Madeira, where Pierpont purchased 110 gallons of Madeira wine. Little did he know that his decision would create a fascinating historical legacy.
The journey of Confederacy was marked by a fierce encounter with a fleet of privateers under Napoleon's command, leading to the capture of Pierpont's valuable cargo, including the Madeira wine. The seized goods were later sold at an auction in Nantes, where Pierpont was able to reclaim some of his lost cargo, including the Madeira.
Upon his return to American shores, Pierpont engaged in a lengthy correspondence with President Jefferson, seeking compensation for his losses. However, during the negotiations of the Louisiana Purchase, a mutual agreement to drop all claims between the U.S. and France was reached, dashing Pierpont's hopes of recompense.
Pierpont passed away in 1838 without tasting the Madeira that had been part of his incredible journey. The year following his death, the wine was transferred to glass bottles and kept in the family's Brooklyn cellar. Over the generations, these bottles were carefully preserved and enjoyed by Pierpont's descendants, with only five believed to exist today.
Now, these five historic bottles are available to you. Each bottle is not just a vessel of exquisite wine, but a symbol of resilience, an epic tale of survival, and a remarkable relic from a time when daring ventures shaped our world.
Hezekiah Beers Pierpont,
He was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He was a grandson of James Pierpont, one of the founders of Yale University and an ancestor of financier J.P. Morgan. Hezekiah changed the spelling of his surname from "Pierpont" to "Pierrepont" in its original French spelling. He started out as a merchant adventurer before settling in Brooklyn in 1802 where he became a major developer and laid out many of the streets. He married Anna, daughter of William Kerin Constable who gave the couple half a million acres of land in northern New York as a wedding present. The town of Pierrepont, New York, is named for Hezekiah. One of their daughters, Julia, married her first cousin, John Constable, and lived at Constable Hall just east of Constableville, New York.