Grape NamePhotoRegionCat.Common NamesDescription
SercialPortuguese Wine Grape Variety SercialPortugal map with location of regional grape variety SercialDouro, Madeira, BucelasIIIEsgana, Esgana Cão

Sercial is the name of a white grape grown in Portugal, especially on the island of Madeira. It has given name to the dryest of the four classic varieties of Madeira fortified wine.

The Portuguese wine grape is grown in diminishing quantities at the southern end of the island.

After phylloxera devastated the Madeira's vineyards the grape became more common on the mainland, where it is known as Esgana or Esgana Cão (“Dog Chocker”) for acidity so high that it would choke a dog. Its late ripening allows it to retain its characteristic acidity.

The anglicised name Sercial came to be associated with the Madeira style rather than the grape variety, being the lightest, most acidic and delicate expression of Madeira that takes the longest to mature. EU rules for varietal names on wine labels now require Madeiras labelled Sercial to be made from minimum 85% Sercial.

Madeiras in general can often take decades to reach maturity and the Sercial can require an even longer period of time. Those lucky enough to find Madeiras dating back to the turn of the 20th century (or even further back) will be treated to an intense and sublime concoction that combines the best attributes of Sherry and Tawny Port along with a vein of acidity and an impossibly long finish. Already oxidized, Madeira can be opened and recorked without fear of damaging the wine. The best examples will continue to improve seemingly forever.