RWC Historic Series 'Baltimore' Rainwater Madeira DOC
Item Number: 5474
Sub Region: Madeira
Appellation/AVA: Madeira DOC
Estate Grown Wine: No
Grape(s): 80% Verdelho / 20% Tinta Negra Mole
Type: Wine - Fortified
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Alc by Vol(%): 19.5
Tasting Notes by Bill St. John for Chicago Tribune (7/2014): "Once the most popular style of Madeira in the U.S., rainwater must have been what Old George [Washington] tippled as his daily pint: light-bodied, slightly nutty, spryly refreshing (terrific acidity) and can take a chill. It is a "session" Madeira and it goes down good. While a one-off because of the style, Rare Wine Co.'s version has serious nuance, length and persistence and is worth its charge for that complexity alone."
In the words of Mannie Berk: "Madeira was once the most prestigious wine in America. And the most prestigious style of Madeira was Rainwater.
Rainwater took its name from its pale color and delicate texture and flavor. Yet, the origins of the style are shrouded in mystery. Some attributed it to a Savannah wine merchant after the Civil War, but that cannot be, as Rainwaters existed at least a half century earlier. Others said Rainwaters were a freak of nature. Noel Cossart credited his own firm with creating Rainwater in the 1700s, after a barrel of wine was left on a beach.
Unfortunately, in the 20th century the name "Rainwater" became bastardized--used to label inexpensive Madeiras that were too sweet and too soft to have anything in common with the great Rainwaters of the past.
Ricardo started with a base wine that was 80% Verdelho, made up of two lots ranging in age from 8 to 13 years. Young Verdelho was a perfect starting point, not only because of its delicacy and minimal sweetness, but because Verdelho would have been the most common component in the early Rainwaters.
Baltimore Rainwater is very possibly the first Madeira made along the lines of a classic, 19th century Rainwater in at least a half century. Hopefully it will mark a return to Rainwater as it should be: a Madeira of ethereal body, great finesse, delicate flavors and just a touch of sweetness."