Affordable but High Quality Madeira

Today’s Story: The Rare Wine Co. Historic Series Madeira

The Rare Wine Co. Historic Series Madeira is a project launched in 1998 by Ricardo Freitas (owner of Madeira producer Vinhos Barbeito) and Mannie Berk (owner of The Rare Wine Company). The project was launched out of a mutual appreciation and love of Madeira, a wine that was America’s most highly sought-after during the 18th and 19th centuries before falling into obscurity. With a core portfolio of wines names after American cities where Madeira was most-prized, the Historic Series Madeira bottlings are meant to capture the unique style of each place. These include the Baltimore Rainwater Special Reserve, Charleston Sercial Special Reserve, Savannah Verdelho Special Reserve, Boston Bual Special Reserve, and New York Malmsey Special Reserve which showcase the tendency for drier Madeira in the southern states and sweeter Madeira in the northern states. In addition to this core portfolio, the Historic Series Madeira also includes limited releases named for Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison, and the city of New Orleans. All wines are blended with Madeira ranging from 10 to 60 years old, and they are meant to be affordable bottlings to re-introduce this great wine to wider groups of consumers.

Today’s Wine: NV Charleston Sercial Special Reserve Madeira

100% Sercial; 19.5% ABV

The NV Charleston Sercial Special Reserve is pale tawny in color. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, and the rather complex nose displays notes of dried red apple, orange peel, dried apricot, toffee, caramel, honey, hazelnut, walnut, and saline. Meanwhile the flavors are also of pronounced intensity, with the palate showcasing notes of fig, charred lemon, orange peel, dried apricot, honey, caramel, nutmeg, and toasted almond. This off-dry Madeira is light- to medium-bodied with mouthwatering medium (+) acidity, low tannins, high alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish.

Price: $50. I think this is a solid value for Madeira, and I’ve found that to generally be the case with the Rare Wine Co. Madeira bottlings I’ve tried. This is a very good representation of Sercial Madeira, and it offers very solid complexity, balance, and length.

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