In the pink with new rosé Port wine

Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:25pm EDT
 
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By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters) - In a bid to reverse a decade-long slide in sales, some producers of Port wine have gone pink.

They have given the sweet red or amber colored Portuguese fortified wine, which is traditionally sipped as an accompaniment to the cheese course or dessert, a makeover with a lighter rosé version that is 20 percent alcohol.

"It's port without rules," Adrian Bridge, chief executive of Taylor-Fladgate in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal, said of his rosé, Croft Pink.

His 320-year-old, family-owned port house, which also has the Fonseca and Croft brands, was the first to make a rosé port in 2005 though others, including smaller producers Poças and Krohn, have followed suit.

Croft Pink, first sold in Holland, Canada and Britain, was marketed in Texas last fall before its 2012 roll out to the rest of the United States.

"One restaurant was going through three bottles a day - that's an awful lot of port," Bridge said.

He discovered that rather than sipping the drink, the bartender at the restaurant was pouring the bottles into a slushy machine to make icy drinks.

"They were selling it as slushies, sort of ice cream for adults," he explained. "This is definitely not your father's port."   Continued...

 
Barrels of aged Port wine are seen at a Gaia city cellar in northern Portugal September 11, 2006. REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro