According to legend, “Rainwater” was the result of two pipes of Madeira inadvertently left exposed to the elements while awaiting shipment to the colonies. The adulterated/diluted wine was apparently well received and thus a style was born: Verdelho-like, but lighter and less oxidized in style, its acidity softer and less assertive. In the eighteenth century, such a wine might have been predominantly Verdelho, but today Rainwater is made from largely—or entirely—Tinta Negra and undergoes estufagem.
About Tinta NegraFormerly known as Tinta Negra Mole, Tinta Negra is by far the most widely planted grape on the island, accounting for more than 85% of the total hectares planted (485 ha). Long-prized by growers for its generous yields and adaptability to a wide array of growing conditions, and by winemakers for its chameleon-like expression, producing wines ranging from seco to doce. It forms the basis of all entry-level madeiras which undergo estufagem, but in recent decades winemakers have sought to explore and elevate this ‘workhorse grape’, and it was included in ‘Recommended Varieties’ (castas recomendadas) in 2015, for the first time permitting its name to appear on madeira labels. H&H (with several other producers) has been in the vanguard of its reassessment, producing three colheitas and the island’s first 50-Year Tinta Negra.
Tasting NotesThe H&H Rainwater 3-Year Madeira is notable for its firmer, more concentrated style, one that nevertheless maintains the balance, delineation and delicate felicity that has made Rainwater an American classic. Crème brûlée, almond, orange zest and sea spray-equal parts elegance freshness and confident force. Excellent as an aperitif, but with many additional possibilities at the table and on the bar.
Pairing RecommendationsAt the table: with salmon, swordfish or game birds; savory soups and seafood chowders; nuts and hard cheeses. On the bar: it plays well with a wide variety of different spirits, lending elegance to rum, tequila, mezcal and whiskeys of all types.
It might be said that the history of Henriques & Henriques is the history of Madeira itself. Legend has it that Infante Dom Henriques planted the island’s first vines in 1425. These vines gave fruit to one of the “first families of Madeira” and in the process sunk deep roots which Henriques’ descendants and successors continue to draw upon in guiding H&H today.
João Joaquim Gonçalves Henriques founded the firm in 1850 as a partidista, supplying wine to other merchants from extensive Henriques vineyard holdings while continuing to amass significant stocks of old wines in the family cellars. In 1925, Henriques & Henriques began to bottle and export Madeira produced entirely from their own vineyards—an anomaly amongst producers on the island. Today, Henriques & Henriques is led by CEO and winemaker Humberto Jardim, one of Madeira’s great visionaries and ambassadors. The firm continues to source some of its needs from its own vineyards, most notably from a terraced, 10-hectare vineyard at Quinta Grande—the single largest on island, replanted in 1995.
Against the tides of urban development, H&H have been in the forefront of vineyard planting and preservation of Madeira’s noble varieties: Sercial, Verdelho, Boal, Malvasia and Terrantez, while simultaneously playing a key role in the reappraisal of the underrated Tinta Negra, recently releasing an unprecedented 50-year expression. Likewise, H&H’s age-statement varietal wines are widely regarded as benchmark articulations: always 100% of the stated varietal (e.g., Verdelho), the blend always composed of stocks well in excess of the statement requirement (e.g., 15-year).
Finally, H&H continues to boast an impressive selection of pre-1925 “Garrafeira” (vintage) and Solera bottlings originating in the Henriques’ family cellars. Without question, the most celebrated of these is the “Heavenly Quartet”—four legendary wines from the late 18th century—that are amongst the most transcendent expressions of Madeira extant today. To taste any one of these is, quite literally, to “drink history” itself, as well as to share in the accumulated wisdom—of family, family-owned vineyards and old stocks—that continue to define Henriques & Henriques today. Full details
About Madeira DOCThe archipelago of Madeira has long profited from its position in shipping lanes, from the 1500s, when ships under sail called at Funchal to pick up food and wine before the trade winds blew their ships west to the New World, to today, when cruise ships dock and world travelers sample the foods, crafts, and wines of the island. The Madeira DOC governs the fortified and heated-to-oxidation wines of the island, regulating the grapes, minimum age, and residual sugars of each category. While the Madeira laws give producers plenty of leeway in terms of blending and age statements, Henriques & Henriques’ blending approach is crystal clear—true minimum age statements and only monovarietal wines.
|Cepage||100% Tinta Negra|
|Terrain/Climate||mountainous; subtropical but highly varied|
|Soil Type||mixed volcanic (basalt, tufa)|
|Vine Training||latada (pergola)|
|Harvest||mid-August to early October; hand-harvested|
|Fermentation||some whole-cluster; fermented in stainless steel with native yeasts|
|Fortification||neutral grape spirit (96% abv)|
|Elevage||90-day estufagem, followed by aging in balseiro (large cask) for a minimum of three years|
|Total acidity||4.2 g/l|
|Total extract||92.8 g/l|
|SKU||Vintage||Region||Origin||Desc||Cepage||% Alc||Size/Pack||Finish||BTL Barcode||Cs Barcode||Cs Wgt|
|HZ 6510||NV||Madeira||PT||Oxidative/Oxidized Wine; Fortified||100% Tinta Negra||19.0%||750/12||T Cap||5601196010764||25601196010768||15.50 kg|