The Rare Wine Co. Historic Series Madeira, Charleston Sercial, Special Reserve

An ode to those who make a profound difference.


If you know who Kermit Lynch is you’re most likely not reading this blog, but if you are reading this blog and you know who KL is you are, like me, a disgruntled fan, having no access to how he’s contributed to reshaping wine consumption in North America and almost single-handedly helping wine drinkers rethink what good wine is.  But not in BC.  Sigh.


To a lesser extent, the Rare Wine Company is really “the Kermit Lynch companion” and, founded by Mannie Berk nearly three decades ago, does for wine what the socialized Canadian system is unable, ill-equipped and totally not structured to do: Bring to prominence wines threatened with extinction and offer wine lovers a glimpse beyond the Wine Advocate’s blessing.


Enter the Charleston Sercial.


This Madeira, this dry, evocative and overwhelmingly captivating wine, which I had the good fortune to drink (by the glass!) in New York this spring, was simply beyond sensational.  I saw it on the menu at a pokey wine bar in Hell’s Kitchen and ordered a glass and then, if I’d stroked out, keeled over, and never been revived, it would have been in a state of Nirvana.


Far be it from me to wax on about how brilliant this wine is.  And it is brilliant.  Uber.  Super.  Mega.  Here’s a cut and paste from the merchant’s web site:


This is the driest wine in the series and a wine that has been served throughout meals in America for nearly 300 years. Chef Mario Batali won over 1000+ guests at the 2009 New York Wine Experience by boldly pairing Charleston Sercial with a wild boar dish of Wolfgang Puck’s creation.

Just two weeks later, in the Wall Street Journal, Alice Feiring picked the same Madeira as a wine of choice for chestnut soup, noting that it “is like a salted caramel without its sugar.”

But Mario and Alice were not the first to discover Charleston Sercial’s charms. In 2005, Grant Achatz, whom many believe is America’s most inventive chef, attracted national press for his cutting-edge pairings of Charleston Sercial with dishes at Alinea in Chicago.

Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar 92 rating

Wow.  And Wow.  And Wow.


Price: Online at $50 USD a bottle.


Market Liquidity: If only it was even on the market in Canada.

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