Anybody who knows me will be aware that my treat drink of choice is a lovely glass of port. No worrying about pairings of food or dishes, except maybe wondering where the port is when having a cheese and biscuits course.
A full bodied port to wind down the day or to celebrate with friends is definitely a treat I enjoy, but there is much more out there than the traditional ruby port that we all know and love.
A lot of people think of port as a festive drink or a drink for the end of a great meal. But rose port is one for the summer days, a more refreshing port that keeps a sense of what it is fundamental, but brings out tall, summer drink vibes with smoothness, fruitiness and lightness.
Scary for the traditionalists out there for sure, but a joy for those who love variety on their palate. Fun, fruity and perhaps more enjoyable to some.
What Is Pink Port
Pink, or rose port, is instantly different from traditional ruby port in its colour. Gone is the usual deep, dark tone of the fortified red wine and, instead, we have a deep pink colour. I, myself, would describe it as light red rather than pink. Just as a rose wine stands out from a red wine, rose port stands out from a ruby port.
The lighter red here is achieved by extracting a small amount of colour from the skins and not allowing the tannins from the Douro grapes into the flavour to stop it from becoming too aggressive. It is similar to the processes of a non-wooded white wine actually.
White port, another alternative, is created with no contact with the skins, so pink port has a small amount of contact and thus creates some colour and fruit flavour.
Then, to make it a port, after 7 days the fermentation is stopped by adding an alcoholic brandy spirit, keeping the flavour and sugars within. Thus fortified, it makes it a port and not a red wine. Plus, you have the extra alcohol that takes it up to between 19 and 20 percent proof.
Croft Pink – The Original
Pink port is relative newcomer to the port market. Croft were the ones to make the original in 2008, and a few brands have copied it since. Croft, though, is the name most people think of when talking about pink or rose ports.
Brief History Of Croft
The Croft port house story starts way back in 1588 in the city of York, England.
York was a huge merchant hub in the 16th century and onwards with many big family names trading in all kinds of goods. 2 prominent trading families at the time were Thompson and Croft.
A treaty with Portugal in 1654 meant lower taxes so the Thompson family started trading more with Portugal than France. At this time, Richard Thompson started to transform the company into a port wine company rather than all kinds of trade goods.
The Thompson and Croft families were united in a marriage in the 1680s, and during 1736 the first Croft joined the business.
In 1781 it was John Croft III who created the earliest known vintage port. The Croft.
Croft is the oldest original port house still operating today in Portugal.
Anyway, back to the matter of Croft Pink Port. As I mentioned, it is still a port as it is fortified, but this port is much more refreshing and lighter than your traditional drink.
Upon tasting it, I certainly get the notes of ripe cherry and plum. There are hints of raspberry and strawberry too. This adds to the refreshing summer taste it provides.
The aftertaste is sweet but not too sweet at all.
How To Serve
This is a port that is so adaptable. For me, it is best served chilled. Drink it from a tall glass with lots of ice. Perfect for a relaxing summer drink in the sun.
You could also add soda water, tonic water, or lemonade and make it a spritz. It would also make a great ingredient for a cocktail. Something for me to try.
I still love my ruby port at the end of a good day or celebration. Croft Pink port is not trying to be that drink at all. It is not an alternative, but a drink that stands on its own, designed as an alternative to normal wines, especially mor traditional summer sweet and sparkling wines.
The sun is out. Time to get the ice out of the freezer, and pour some pink port on the rocks. Cheers!