Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Madeira Review: Rare Wine Co Charleston Sercial

While I've enjoyed a number of madeiras over the years, sercial is one of the main styles that I have yet to try.

A few months ago a local Italian restaurant announced that it was going to be selling groceries and wine on top of being open for takeout. While poking around, I happened to ask whether they would be willing to sell me some of their open bottles of madeira, knowing that it is an incredibly study wine so I wouldn't be taking a hit in terms of quality. They were nice enough to cut me a deal, which meant that I was able to get most of the Rare Wine Co standard lineup without having to spring for full bottles.

This wine is fermented to around 50 g of residual sugar per liter, fortified, and aged in oak in a traditional canteiro system. The blend is put together from 85% sercial grapes aged for 15-20 years with 15% tinta negra mole grapes aged for 40-60 years, then bottled at 19% ABV.

Rare Wine Co Charleston Sercial

Nose: almost oak-y dryness, yeast/mushroom savory roundness, mixed nuts, citrus peel, vanilla, dried and overripe fruit

Taste: opens with a mix of moderately sweet grape notes and almost puckering berry tartness, sweeter berries and rhubarb with citrus peel (orange, lemon) top notes in the middle, a savory/nutty fade into the finish

Finish: vinegar and berry tartness, a yeast-y savoriness, grape tannins

While sercial still isn't my favorite style, I can't deny the quality of this wine. It's a little challenging at first to find anything through the dry/tart character, but time in the glass opens it up to something a bit rounder, sweeter, and more approachable. Fans of dry amontillado sherries will probably enjoy this, since it hits some fairly similar notes. A solid pick as an aperitif with its tart bite.

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