A Rosé Future for Port?

I’ve been a fan of Port for a long time, so when I saw the article Fortified Wine’s Final Generation? by James Lawrence in my inbox, it caught my interest. The article discusses the steady decline in fortified wine sales over the last few years, and some of the things the industry is doing to try and reverse that trend. One of the things mentioned is Croft Pink Port, and that made the timing interesting too as just last weekend I was at a wine tasting where they were pouring this product.

While “pink” and “sweet” don’t necessarily make a favorable association with “wine” in my head (looking at you, white zinfandel), I think it actually works in this case. Made using only brief skin contact followed by fermentation in stainless steel, Pink Port has a much more delicate nose than traditional Ports. This means the alcohol is quite noticeable, but it is supported by enticing floral, raspberry, and honey aromas. The taste is sweet but delivers the promise of the smell with the addition of a distinct watermelon note.

Pink Port should be served chilled, or even over ice, which will help tone down the sweetness. Croft recommends it as an aperitif and also extols its virtues as a cocktail mixer. When I started to think about food pairings, I wanted to try it with spicy Southeast Asian seafood or chicken. At dessert time, I think I would choose something with tart berry flavors (e.g. blueberries or cranberries)… maybe a cheesecake with cranberry sauce.

The idea behind Pink Port is to try and attract new drinkers. I think it will accomplish that objective. Whether it can then get them to cross the boundary to more traditional versions of Port remains to be seen.

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