Rare Wine Co. Baltimore Rainwater Madeira
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.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The latest release of the NV Baltimore Rainwater (Rare Wine Company) is showing well, mingling aromas of ripe peach, candle wax and dried fruits with hints of walnuts. Medium to full-bodied, ample and enveloping, it's fleshy and elegantly satiny, with a lively core of fruit, nicely integrated sweetness and a nicely defined finish. This bottling, based on young Verdelho, is crafted to evoke the Rainwater Madeiras of the 19th century—wines that were especially prized in the city of Baltimore.
It took years of work, but in 2003, they began releasing the wines which are named in honor of American cities with strong ties to Madeira. New York Malmsey, Boston Boal, and Charleston Sercial all eerily resemble vintage Madeiras -- thanks to the inclusion of wines ranging in age from 30 to 60 years old in the blends. Working with Vinhos Barbeito, which possesses one of the great libraries of legendary 19th century Madeiras, each wine represents a style of Madeira popular in the cities they're named after.
A steep, volcanic island in the Atlantic Ocean that rises to over 6,000 feet at its highest point, Madeira actually sits closer to Morocco than Portugal, the country to which it belongs.
Today the vineyards of the island cover tiny step-like terraces called poios, carved from the basalt bedrock. Aptly named Madeira, this fortified wine comes in two main styles. Blended Madeira is mostly inexpensive wine but there are a few remarkable aged styles. Single varietal Madeira (made from Sercial, Verdelho, Boal or Malmsey), is usually the highest quality and has the potential to improve in the bottle for decades.