Sercial is a white grape and a corresponding style of Madeira wine, one of the four recognised styles of this fortified wine, along with the medium-dry Verdelho, the medium-sweet Bual and Terrantez and the lusciously sweet Malvasia (aka Malmsey).
Sercial is the driest style of Madeira, containing up to up to 1.5 percent residual sugar; Verdehlo (a medium-dry style) has up to 2.5 percent residual sugar while Bual has 3.5 percent and Malmsey Malvasia has more than four percent residual sugar.
Sercial is the last of the white grapes to ripen in Madeira, often as late as mid-October, and is characterised by a high level of acidity. A minimum of 20 years ageing in cask is required for vintage Sercial Madeiras, to ensure that its razor-sharp acidity has softened. Once mature, it makes a perfect apéritif but it can also hold its own very well.
A vintage Sercial Madeira resembles a Tawny Port in colour, yet the nose has pronounced citrus fruit aromas, and as the wine ages the aromatic profile becomes similar to old Rieslings.