Our team of importers at Farah Trading Co is split between the US and Portugal and today's post comes the Douro Valley from our writer Odile Bouchard. Odile is both one of the family members of Quinta Do Tedo, a maker of one of Portugal's top Port rosés, and also a major port aficionado making her the perfect candidate to give us a Port Rosé 101! Take it away Odile...
History of Port Rosé in Portugal
The history of port wine is long, complex and fascinating - and this famed elixir is still made in the same way and place as when it first emerged from Portugal’s Douro Valley in the 17th century. However, 300+ years of production, modern winemaking technology, and adventurous winemakers have given us a fresh new version of this traditional, fortified wine. Enter Port rosé , the newest Port on the block!
Croft, a long-established yet pioneering Port house, launched the first Port rosé, which was officially approved as a new Port category in 2008. Millennials, Porto’s summer tourists and cocktail aficionados quickly took a liking to this raspberry pink, aromatic, sweet and fun Port style.
How is Port rosé made?
Rosé Port is made from red grapes - Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and other Douro Valley grapes used for other red Port styles. These grapes are harvested and crushed in a press, where their juices and skins sit together for 2-4 hours. This is just enough time to take on that light pink taint.
Grapes are then gently pressed; the first, more aromatic, sweet and pure portion goes into stainless steel tanks to partially ferment before being fortified with aguardente (a neutral grape brandy that stops fermentation, retains natural sweetness and increases alcohol content in Port wine). After 4 months of aging, the Port Rosé is bottled.
What happens to the second portion of the pressed grape juice for Port rosé?
It rejoins its skins in traditional cement lagares, where it is foot trodden and fortified to make Ruby Port, which is darker, richer and ages in big barrels for 3-5 years. You could say rosé Port is like a light Ruby Port!
How to best enjoy Port rosé?
Enjoy it ice cold and straight up, or in a Rosé Port Tonic mixed with 2 parts Schweppes, served over ice and garnished with a mint leaf, lemon slice and frozen berries!
Port rosé food pairing suggestions?
Rosé Port pairs exceptionally well with food from around the world. Pork dumplings, curry noodles, sushi and samosas are all great pairings for this versatile Port style. You can check out the Port Rosé my family makes here.
Enjoy! Odile Bouchard, Quinta do Tedo