The Fladgate Partnership has created a splash with the launch of their newest product, PINK PORT. On the FTLOP Forum, the launch of Pink Port gained more attention than any other single Port related issue in the past 2.5 years, which I found quite amazing.
Although it arrived in a distinctly shaped bottle, with clear glass and a vivid pink hue, it is a unique product, even if it offers little hint at being in the Port family. It is billed as “The first Pink Port ever!” The Croft version is a different Port than the one released by Marks & Spencer. Controversial, innovative, heresy … you decide!
Croft’s Pink Port – In fairness, I spent hours with this wine. First chilled and right from the refrigerator, later over ice cubes and finally, allowed to warm up to 60 degrees. It showed best when served cold as the acidity was more prominent and the spirit on the nose was less of a factor. Fragrance of cinnamon spice, confected watermelon, and Kirsch with a gentle kiss of alcohol. I didn’t expect the full on sweetness and it was a bit much, the first sip. It got better thereafter and showed an overripe watermelon and strawberry profile, but with the requisite acidity to carry the sweet flavors. Although not my style, I can clearly see this being successful in the marketplace for a specific demographic, which is not meant to be the typical Port purist or serious wine enthusiast. Overall, Pink Port is light-medium bodied and very sweet, yet balanced and with a clean, refreshing aftertaste. It leaves no perception of being Port, however I really don’t think that will matter whatsoever to its intended audience. If it converts newcomers to eventually try other Port, I say bravo! 82 points 3/20/08
My final comment: Again, this is a product with a very specific target audience and I applaud and support ANY reasonable effort to promote and expand the Port category and lay the groundwork for attracting tomorrow's Port drinker.
Notes from the folks at Croft:
The winemaking approach was to take red Port grapes and handle them in a similar way to producing an elegant, non-wooded white wine:
- Grapes are crushed and chilled into a bladder press;
- After a short period of skin contact, the free run juice and the lightest of pressing are run off to a chilled settling tank;
- In the settling tank, enzymes are added to settle the solid residues from the Roêda Winery grape;
- Following 36-48 hours, the clear juice is racked into a separate temperature controlled fermentation tank, where specially selected yeast are added to ferment the juice; 1] Slightly lower alcohol; 2] Similar sugar levels to red ports; 3] Higher acidity; 4] High quality spirit (should not mask delicate fruit aromas).