The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2012

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Page 40 of 132

PORT Think Pink I n the Douro, the oldest demarcated wine area in Europe, what's old is new again, thanks to some fresh thinking by one of the region's oldest port families. Taylor Fladgate still wants you to relax with your 20 Year Old Tawny, but now, the family says it's okay to throw out the port tongs and think pink. Introduced last year in the U.S., this is the test summer for Croft Pink, the world's fi rst rosé port and the newest offering of the venerable Croft port producer. Founded in 1588, Croft's heritage is nearly unparalleled, and since being acquired by the Fladgate Partnership in 2001, the house has been rein- vented—and everything's coming up rosés. Made of a blend of six indigenous grape varieties, Croft Pink (SRP $19.99) goes through the same processes as its ruby cousin, but with less skin contact and a seven-day cold fermentation that heightens its fresh berry fl avors. That, combined with 19.5% abv, makes it a more approachable version of port. The grapes used are harvested at higher altitudes, helping to boost acidity and balance it with the residual sugar. Helping people drink though rosé-colored glasses is Lorenzo Bakewell-Stone, the London-born, Ivy League– educated Global Brand Ambassador for Croft Port, who, when not mixing a portfolio of pretty cocktails, is talking about them on hip satellite stations like the Heritage Radio Network broadcast from the backyard of Roberta's in Bushwick, Brooklyn. "Croft had a fabulous reputation from 1945 to 1966 with its iconic vintage ports," says Bakewell-Stone. Now, the brand is seeking to garner new fans with this attractively packaged rosé, and it's deploying some marketing savvy to help. A new menu of cocktails, developed by David Wondrich (the "living iPod of drink lore and recipes" says the New York Times) is a nod to the days when port cocktails were as common as the Martini. Many of the potions are updates with a luxe twist, and Croft Pink is the scene-stealer for summer. "The port cocktail isn't really new," says Bakewll-Stone, "but Taylor is trying to bring them back." The new renditions, he says, are "luxury cocktails made with products that take a lot of time and effort." And in these Mad Men–crazed times, the retro-fi tted cock- tails resonate in urban markets. But just don't call them this year's Sex and the City Cosmo. "I've done a lot of tastings in the trade, and in restaurants, and guys love it as well. Everyone who tastes it loves it," said Bakewell-Stone. 40 / the tasting panel / july 2012 Pink Bliss ◗ 1½ oz. Croft Pink ◗ ¾ oz. vodka ◗ 3 strawberries ◗ 2 mint leaves ◗ ½ small medium hot red chili ◗ Muddle strawberries, mint and chili in a shaker (remove seeds from chili). Add Croft Pink, vodka and ice and shake. Double-strain into Martini glass and garnish with chili. CROFT PINK IS PUTTING A NEW HUE ON PORT by Lana Bortolot

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