A Great Entry-Level Sweet 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.

I previously reviewed the NV Charleston Sercial Special Reserve Madeira from The Rare Wine Co.

Today’s Wine: NV New York Malmsey Special Reserve Madeira

100% Malvasia; 19.5% ABV

The NV New York Malmsey Special Reserve is medium tawny in color though it has brownish hues since I’ve had this open for a few days. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of fruitcake, spiced plum, prune, fig, clove, coffee grounds, toffee, and walnut. Flavors are also of pronounced intensity, and the palate displays notes of dates, fig, fruitcake, sweet tobacco, caramel, mocha, browned butter, and oaky spice. This sweet Madeira is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, low tannins, high alcohol, and a long finish.

Price: $50. I think this is very solid value for Madeira, as the balance, length, intensity, and complexity here are quite profound. Though there are certainly better Madeiras out there, this Malmsey and the others from The Rare Wine Co. Historic Series are great beginner bottlings.

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