The context leads to the inference that this must be some kind of wine, but pinning it down has proven difficult. Kesilman (174), Walmisley (299) and Asimov (11) call it a sherry. Green (145) is “reasonably certain” it is a sherry. Dunn (100), Halton (147), Hardwicke (149), and Bradley (46) all define it simply as a Spanish wine. Walters (301) suggests that Gilbert may have meant Montilla, “a fairly ‘fresh-tasting’ sherry, somewhere between a true sherry and manzanilla.” Knight (177) thinks Gilbert invented the name to rhyme with bolero. Stone (283) has this suggestion: “There are two Italian wine-country villages, Monterosso and Monteroberto, both of which have given their names to wines, and either of which Gilbert may have had in mind and shortened to Montero to make it rhyme with bolero.” There is a “Montero” wine from near San Severo in Italy, but it has been produced for no more than the past forty years. My tentative guess is that Walters is right: Gilbert had Montilla in mind. The Spanish would pronounce it mon-TEE-yah, and shifting to “Montero” to rhyme with bolero seems eminently logical. Montilla wine is a Cordoban variant on Elizabethan Sack. It takes its name from a region of Spain in the Sierra Nevadas midway between Cordoba and Granada. (I dare say Gilbert would have enjoyed a nice chuckle over all the inconvenience this single word has caused.)

Act II