We don't venture into tasting out the fortified wines that often, usually because you have to catch people in the right mood to try what they consider a dessert wine. They are considered very singular in purpose, and most people don't think of having them unless those occasions absolutely slap them in the face to break them out. Sometimes we all need to be reminded, ourselves included, how broad and diverse these wines can be. Madeira in particular is both diverse in it's sweetness and immensely durable once it's opened thanks to the process used to make it (called 'estufagem'). The base wine is heated slowly by different methods to emulate the months of travel by boat centuries ago through the Tropics to its many worldwide locations. This helps create the nutty oxidized flavors that is so distinctive in Madeira, in many ways accelerating the aging process to a point where the finished product is almost immune to further damage from air exposure. The Rainwater style is the lightest of Madeira and can see a slow loss of subtlety over time, but that time is measured in months or years instead of days and weeks.
Designated as 'Meio Seco', or medium dry, this shows a much drier side of the Rainwater designation, as the Henriques & Henriques is a very traditional family estate and builds their wines with an eye towards past styles. Lovely nose of toasted almonds backed with bright citrus and round pear notes, which only gets more complex and diverse in the days and weeks after it's opened, moving into caramels and zestier fruits. The palate is instantly both delicate and powerful, filling up all corners of your mouth with almonds, vanilla and citrus yet also maintaining acidity to allow the subtle leathery/tropical unertones to come through and the finish to linger for what feels like minutes without feeling cloying. This will re-establish your excitement for something a little more indulgent, but not priced to make you only bring it out for special occasions. You have a year or more to finish the bottle, so why rush yourself?
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!