• Uniquely affordable Madeiras that relfect the style and complexity of the great vintage wines

Historic Series Madeira

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, Madeira was the United States' most coveted wine.

Madeira Drinkers

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 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.

“Perfect flavors and subtle bouquet...perfect balance and harmony...
— Eric Asimov, The N.Y. Times

The Idea

The goal of these remarkable wines was to introduce a new generation of American wine lovers not only to our shared history with 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 we 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 pre-eminent source of Vintage Madeiras from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries; yet, Ricardo was perfectly positioned to help us. He, too, possessed a remarkable library of old Madeira, but he also had a unique understanding of the qualities we sought. And, for the project, he could contribute wines ranging in age from ten to sixty years, allowing us to produce superbly complex, aged Madeiras at affordable prices.

The Cities

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.

“These set the bar as benchmark offerings for non-vintage Madeiras...”
— The Wine Enthusiast

The Wines

How remarkable are these wines? They have been instrumental in rekindling interest in Madeira in the United States ... after more than a century of neglect. Each wine offers profound complexity, crisp acidity and marvelous richness on the palate. Below, please find links a detailed description of each Historic Series Madeira:

Charleston Sercial Special Reserve
Savannah Verdelho Special Reserve
Boston Bual Special Reserve
New York Malmsey Special Reserve
New Orleans Special Reserve
Baltimore Rainwater Special Reserve
Lee Family Special Reserve

Storing and Serving

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.

Madeira is best served at a cool room temperature in a small- to medium-sized glass, ideally with a tall, or tulip-shaped, bowl.

“The finest retail source in America for authentic Madeira is The Rare Wine Co. in Sonoma California.” —Robert Parker