Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Rosé Port

News has been released that sales of Rosé have dipped here in the UK with sales by volume falling 2% to 12.3 million cases in the past year as compared to this time last year when sales were enjoying a growth of 9% to 12.6 million cases. Considering its rise in fame over the past few years I am pleased that it has a place in the market place at all, even if it seems to be levelling off. Many people discovered new types of Rosé that they otherwise would not have encountered on the shelves – Clairets from Bordeaux, Rosé forms of dessert and sparkling wines . . . as well as a Pink Whisky from Bruichladdich and Pink Beers and Ciders!

One such innovation on the back of the Rosé boom has been Pink Port. Pink or Rosé Port is technically a Ruby Port, but is fermented the way a Rosé Wine would be, with a limited exposure to the grape skins, thus the pink colour. Bearing the hallmarks of a light Ruby with its taste being lighter in style and containing a fruity flavour, it's commonly served cold in various ways. Traditionalists threw their hands up in horror but White Port has been around for many many years . . . so why not a Rosé?

Back in 2009 The Port Wine Institute made Rosé Port an official category following the high profile launch of Croft Pink. Croft claims to be the first Rosé of its kind (though Poças released one in Portugal around the same time) and was a breakthrough for the Port house which traces its origins back to 1588. This Pink Port describes itself as fresh and vibrant but lighter on the palate than traditional port especially when served chilled, over ice or as a cocktail. Uses suggested for the Pink Port have been to charge it with chilli, spritz it with soda and fresh fruit, drizzle it over raspberry sorbet, serve it tall with equal amounts of Jasmine tea, or bring on the gin, orange bitters and ginger beer.

Quevedo is another Rosé Port and comes from a company that was founded in 1991 as a family owned business in the heart of the Douro valley. The estate is comprised of 100 hectares located in the regions of Cima-Corgo and Douro Superior, producing both Red and Port Wines from only the five traditional port grapes Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão and Tinta Barroca.

One of the more well known Rosé Ports is Offley Rosé Port and this is said to have a fine bouquet of tropical fruits and is fresh in the mouth with mango and guava flavours and a long elegant finish. Offley's history goes back to 1737, the year in which the Englishman William Offley founded the company to which he gave his own name. However it was in the 19th century that the company acquired a new dynamism. In 1831, Joseph James Forrester, a nephew of the founder, joined the company. An academic and an artist, James Forrester was the first person to map the River Douro and its region, as well as to draw maps that became works of reference. He also undertook numerous wine-growing studies and left important graphical works – paintings, drawings and sketches. James Forrester’s contribution to the development of the region where Port Wine is made, as well as to its trade, earned him the title of Baron given to him by the King of Portugal!

I am fascinated by new drinks – so often they are reworked inspirations from times long past . . . however Pink Port seems to date from 2008. If anyone knows of any made earlier please let me know!


superchick said...

again where do you get it S?

Sue said...

Hi Superchick - the Croft Pink Port is the easiest to find - it is available online at http://www.finewinesellers.co.uk/colour/rose/croft-pink-port-750ml.html

The Offley is available at Waitrose and the Quevedo is available here http://www.wine-boutique.co.uk/port