RWC Historic Series

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Country of Origin: Portugal
Location: Funchal
People: Made expressly for the Rare Wine Co. | Ricardo Freitas, Winemaker

Items

RWC Historic Series 'Boston' Bual, Madeira DOC Login IWC 92 WA 89 JG 92+ WS 93 In Stock
RWC Historic Series 'George Washington' Special Reserve, Madeira DOC Login In Stock
RWC Historic Series 'New York' Malmsey, Madeira DOC Login IWC 92 WA 90 JG 92 WS 91 In Stock
RWC Historic Series 'Charleston' Sercial, Madeira DOC Login IWC 92 WA 91 WA 91 JG 94 In Stock
RWC Historic Series 'Baltimore' Rainwater Madeira DOC Login WA 89 JG 93 In Stock
RWC Historic Series 'Savannah' Verdelho, Madeira DOC Login WA 90 IWC 93 WA 88 JG 93 WS 92 In Stock

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, madeira was the United States’ most coveted wine. Every public event—from the signing of the Declaration of Independence to George Washington’s Inauguration—was toasted with a glass of madeira. For more than 150 years, no other wine rivaled it in the eyes of connoisseurs. But after the Civil War, madeira wine drifted into obscurity, the victim of a series of natural, political and economic calamities. It was not until the dawn of the 21st century that America once again embraced this enigmatic wine, helped in no small part by The Rare Wine Co.’s creation of its Historic Series.

The goal of these remarkable wines is to introduce a new generation of American wine lovers not only to the history of Madeira, but to the wine’s magical quality: its astonishing bouquet, its glorious richness and balance, and its versatility as an aperitif, dessert wine and food wine.

With this in mind, in 1998, Mannie Berk, owner of The Rare Wine Co., began working with Vinhos Barbeito’s owner, Ricardo Freitas, to create a series of madeiras reflecting the style and complexity that enchanted our forefathers. The Rare Wine Co. had long been known as America’s preeminent source of vintage madeiras from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries; yet, Ricardo was perfectly positioned to help us. He possessed a remarkable library of old Madeira, but he also had a unique understanding of the qualities Mannie sought. Also, he could contribute wines ranging in age from ten to sixty years, allowing The Rare Wine Co. to produce superbly complex, aged Madeiras at affordable prices.

To emphasize America’s deep historical connection to Madeira, each wine in the series is named for a U.S. city where Madeira was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Thus, Charleston Sercial and Savannah Verdelho celebrate the South’s love of drier Madeiras, while Boston Bual and New York Malmsey acknowledge the North’s appreciation of sweeter Madeiras. Each bottle bears an early engraving from that city, along with a back label describing the wine and America’s special link to Madeira’s illustrious history.

Among the many virtues of Madeira is that it is not subject to temperature variations, so that it can be stored just about anywhere in the home. It also keeps for months, if not years, after opening. Just put a cork or stopper in the bottle, and store it in your wine cellar or even a kitchen cabinet.

Media Links
Chicago Tribune: Madeira - a historic sip

Reviews

  • RWC Historic Series 'Savannah' Verdelho, Madeira DOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 90 (4/1/2010)

    From 10-year old reserves, this has a deep amber color with green tints on the edge. A toffee-scented aroma, well defined with walnut oil, sesame, smoke and dried honey. Quite tight, although it loosens up with time. The palate is medium-bodied with a viscous entry, very well balanced with good acidity, nicely judged oxidative honeyed fruit, although not a complex Verdelho. But one has to admire its power and intensity, whilst maintaining great composure towards the finish. Very fine. -Neal Martin's Wine Journal
  • RWC Historic Series 'Charleston' Sercial, Madeira DOC
    International Wine Cellar
    Rating: 92 (6/1/2011)

    Medium amber. Gingerbread, orange zest, clove, blond tobacco and honey on the nose. Spicy citrus and poached pear flavors are lifted by zesty acidity and show a gentle smoky quality on the back end. Blends sweetness and dryness smoothly, finishing with good nervy cut, a jolt of fleur de sel and lingering smoke, citrus and spice notes
  • RWC Historic Series 'Savannah' Verdelho, Madeira DOC
    International Wine Cellar
    Rating: 93 (6/1/2011)

    Medium amber with a green rim. Aromas of burnt orange, tobacco, toffee and herbs, with a hint of potpourri adding an exotic component. Broader and deeper than the Charleston, offering sappy orange marmalade, chestnut honey and toffee flavors underscored by tangy acidity. Shows a sweet, nutty quality on the smoky, gently spicy finish. I like this wine's heft and thrust
  • RWC Historic Series 'Boston' Bual, Madeira DOC
    International Wine Cellar
    Rating: 92 (6/1/2011)

    Light, bright amber. Deep aromas of cherry pit, candied orange, toffee and molasses, lifted by a note of dried rose. Chewy in texture, with dry-edged nut and burnt orange flavors, a touch of molasses sugar and good back-end grip. Quite sweet but the wine's acidity adds focus, nerve and finishing bite
  • RWC Historic Series 'New York' Malmsey, Madeira DOC
    International Wine Cellar
    Rating: 92 (6/1/2011)

    Medium amber. Powerfully scented bouquet combines cherry compote, cola, molasses, pipe tobacco and brown sugar. Lush and expansive in the mouth, offering sweet pit fruit and orange marmalade flavors and a deeper note of espresso. Clings tenaciously on the finish, which leaves notes of bitter cherry and candied flowers behind
  • RWC Historic Series 'Boston' Bual, Madeira DOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 89 (8/31/2012)

    The non-vintage RWC Boston Bual has a deep bouquet of wild honey, leather, fresh fig and treacle. The palate is rounded and generous on the entry. It is very well-balanced, though not complex. But it is “easy going” with delightful syrup, fig and marmalade towards the harmonious finish. It serves as a great introduction to the delights of Bual. 
  • RWC Historic Series 'Savannah' Verdelho, Madeira DOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 88 (8/31/2012)

    The non-vintage RWC Savannah Verdelho is noticeably deep in color and offers scents of creme brulee, dried honey and a touch of treacle on the nose. The palate is medium-bodied with a smooth, slightly viscous entry. The front of the mouth receives walnut, spice and white pepper notes. The sweetness seems “peripheral” with burnt toffee, honey and marmalade. It is very sedate and refined on the finish, although I would have preferred a little more length. 
  • RWC Historic Series 'Charleston' Sercial, Madeira DOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 91 (8/31/2012)

    The non-vintage RWC Charleston Sercial (May 2012 bottling) has a light, crisp bouquet of walnut, mahogany bureau, pressed flowers and a touch of marmalade that demonstrates fine delineation. The palate is taut and crisp on the entry with tangy marmalade, quince, a touch of cough candy and orange peel. It has superb acidity with a very fine, elegant finish that is absolutely delightful. 
  • RWC Historic Series 'Charleston' Sercial, Madeira DOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 91 (8/31/2012)

    The non-vintage RWC Charleston Sercial (May 2012 bottling) has a light, crisp bouquet of walnut, mahogany bureau, pressed flowers and a touch of marmalade that demonstrates fine delineation. The palate is taut and crisp on the entry with tangy marmalade, quince, a touch of cough candy and orange peel. It has superb acidity with a very fine, elegant finish that is absolutely delightful. 
  • RWC Historic Series 'Baltimore' Rainwater Madeira DOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 89 (8/31/2012)

    The non-vintage RWC Baltimore Rainwater (bottled January 2012) was designed to reintroduce Rainwater as a prestige style rather than the cheaper, paler versions of years gone by. Its template was a Rainwater that Mannie Berk tasted from the 1820s. It has a light lanolin, melted candle wax, dried fig and orange blossom-scented bouquet that expands nicely with aeration. The palate is crisp and light on the entry, with a vibrant citric thread that combines succinctly with bitter orange and mandarin notes. It is laced with a touch of toffee towards the elegant finish. This is delicate, understated and delicious. 
  • RWC Historic Series 'New York' Malmsey, Madeira DOC
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 90 (8/31/2012)

    The non-vintage RWC New York Malmsey has a brash, walnut and smoke-scented bouquet with an acrid tang of autumn bonfire. If it were a person, it would be a Manhattan cab driver with a short fuse. The palate is medium-bodied with a touch of white pepper on the entry. It offers dried toffee, Chinese 5-spice, espresso and marmalade on the viscous finish, which is kept in check by the rapier-like acidity. This is excellent. 
  • RWC Historic Series 'Charleston' Sercial, Madeira DOC
    John Gilman View from the Cellar
    Rating: 94 (3/1/2014)

    I really like the Rare Wine Company’s Charleston Sercial bottling, which is one of my favorites in their fine historic Madeira bottling series. This wine only has one percent residual sugar, which with Madeira’s inherent tangy acids, comes across as quite dry, but beautifully buffered. The bouquet is a first class blend of white cherries, oranges, a touch of nutskin, fresh nutmeg, smoky overtones and a lovely base of soil. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and beautifully transparent, with a superb core, racy acids and stunning tension and purity on the superbly focused and very long finish. This is really a terrific bottle! 2010-2060+.
  • RWC Historic Series 'Baltimore' Rainwater Madeira DOC
    John Gilman View from the Cellar
    Rating: 93 (3/1/2014)

    I had the pleasure to try the Baltimore Rainwater bottling while visiting with Ricardo Diogo Freitas at Vinhos Barbeito, as I had not yet tried it here in the states. To give you some idea of how serious both Mannie Berk and Ricardo Diogo Freitas take this series of wines, the 159 Rainwater is made from a blend of Sercial and Verdelho! The very complex nose offers up a blend of fresh apricot, a touch of Myer lemon, lovely soil tones, a bit of briny ocean breeze and a nice topnote of green olive. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and very elegant, with a lovely core and excellent length and grip on the focused and very refined finish. Soft as rainwater, as the saying goes…. 2014-2070.
  • RWC Historic Series 'Savannah' Verdelho, Madeira DOC
    John Gilman View from the Cellar
    Rating: 93 (3/1/2014)

    This is probably the most “historic” of the series, as according to Mannie Berk, as the vast, vast majority of Madeira consumed here in the US in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were Verdelhos. This wine offers up a really lovely and quite high-toned nose of orange peel, spice cake, woodsmoke, a lovely base of soil nuances and a nice dollop of herbal tones redolent of celery seed in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, racy and very complex, with a lovely signature of soil, impeccable focus and balance and a very long, poised and tangy finish. This has around two percent of residual sugar to it, which is pretty much all eaten up by the fine acidity here, so that the overall impression is a well-buffered, but essentially dry wine. Impressive. 2010-2050+.
  • RWC Historic Series 'Boston' Bual, Madeira DOC
    John Gilman View from the Cellar
    Rating: 92+ (3/1/2014)

    The Boston Bual bottling from the Rare Wine Company is really a very pretty wine that offers up excellent value, as it wafts from the glass in a blend or orange zest, coffee, a lovely touch of toasted nuts and a gentle topnote of caramel. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and only moderately sweet, with a lovely core, bright, tangy acids and very fine length and grip that closes with a fine note of spiciness. This has about three percent residual sugar, and with its lively acidity, the wine comes off as more off-dry than sweet in style. A fine bottle. 2010-2040+.
  • RWC Historic Series 'New York' Malmsey, Madeira DOC
    John Gilman View from the Cellar
    Rating: 92 (3/1/2014)

    The Rare Wine Company’s New York Malmsey is a bit darker in color than the Boston Bual, and carries closer to five percent residual sugar. The wine is quite a bit deeper-pitched aromatically than the Bual, offering up a mix of brown sugar, pain épice, orange peel, gentle herbal tones, dried cherries and a nice dollop of rancio in the upper register. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, deep and quite broad-shouldered, with a fine core and lovely interplay of acidity and sweetness on the long and well-balanced finish. 2010-2040+.
  • RWC Historic Series 'New York' Malmsey, Madeira DOC
    The Wine Spectator
    Rating: 91 (4/30/2016)

    Rich and spicy, with a creamy texture and plenty of buttery notes to the dried apricot and roasted pineapple flavors. Smoky and cedary accents show on the plush finish. Drink now through 2030.
  • RWC Historic Series 'Savannah' Verdelho, Madeira DOC
    The Wine Spectator
    Rating: 92 (4/30/2016)

    Offers a powerful aroma of marzipan and dried tropical fruits, with flavors to match. Shows muscular acidity and plenty of barbecue smoke notes. Vanilla and white chocolate details emerge on the grippy, complex finish, revealing buttery accents. Drink now through 2040.
  • RWC Historic Series 'Boston' Bual, Madeira DOC
    The Wine Spectator
    Rating: 93 (4/30/2016)

    Nutty aromas and flavors are filled with buttery notes in this plush and sweet style. Dried apricot and mango details add to the richness. Finishes with seductive smoke, dried beef and cocoa powder components. Drink now through 2050.