Croft Pink (Port Wine)
Review: Croft Pink (Port Wine) (82.5/100)
Review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Published August 25, 2013
According to the Croft Website, the earliest record they have for the existence of the company which would become the House of Croft is the recoded activity of the Phayre & Bradley as a Port shippers in 1588. At this time the company was named after two partners who founded the company, and it did not take its present name until John Croft, a Yorkshire wine merchant, joined the company in 1736. In 1911, the House of Croft was acquired by the Gilbeys, an established English wine trade family. Of course, it is now owned and managed by the established families of Yeatman and Fladgate as part of the Fladgate Partnership. This partnership controls the triumvirate of well-known Port Houses, Croft, Fonseca, and Taylor’s.
Croft Pink advertises itself as the first Pink Port. This new Port style is produced in a manner which handles the Douro Valley red Port grapes in a similar manner to that which is used when producing a non-wooded white wine. According to the Cort Pink website:
” This vinification method extracts a light amount of colour from the skins without extracting astringent tannins which would make the palate of this light style of Port aggressive. The cold settling prior to fermentation and the cool fermentation are fundamental to enhance the freshness of fruit and its elegance.”
Although the production method is similar to that used when making white wine, the product is undeniably Port wine. It is made from red grapes in the Douro Valley, fortified with distilled grape spirit, and bottled at 19.5 % alcohol by volume.
In the Bottle 4.5/5
If I was able to make one lasting change that would affect all wine producers, it would be to force a paradigm shift in their manner of thinking with respect the bottle presentation. I understand that many wine connoisseurs are able to determine much about what they are about to purchase just by knowing the grape varietal, and the location where the wine is produced and the style of the wine. However it is equally true that many persons who want to buy a nice table wine, have no clue about such things. A smart label with a brief description of the anticipated flavour profile would be most welcome to such consumers.
In the case of the Croft Pink, I believe we have a presentation which matches all of these requirements, The front label is classy without being ostentatious, and the back label does indeed contain brief tasting notes. There is even a few serving suggestions mentioned as well as a little booklet with some cocktail recipes.
I like this attention to detail which I believe treats the customer much more fairly in his or her effort to buy a suitable wine.
In the Glass 21/25
When I poured the Croft Pink into my wine glass, I noticed that this Port expression is not nearly as assertive in aroma other styles of Port which I have sampled in the past. Light, sweet fruity aromas of strawberries, raspberries, green grapes and effervescent grapefruit zest greet my nose.
I allow the glass to breathe and the breezes above the glass remain consistent. This style of Port promises to be light and laid back, with a sweet fruit filled flavour profile.
In the Glass 41/50
The wine does not disappoint in the delivery. What we sense in the breezes above the glass is exactly what is delivered as we sip. Fresh fruit flavours of strawberries and raspberries mingle with Nanking cherries and green grapes. A light grapefruit zest gives the wine a light spiciness. The Croft Pink is quite sweet (think Kool-Aid); but I found it very pleasant when served over ice. (The ice helps to bring the sweetness down a level making the wine much more enjoyable.)
I would not necessarily serve this wine as an after dinner treat. For me it is more of a back deck drink to be enjoyed (over ice) on a hot lazy day when soaking up the sunshine and relaxing with friends is the plan for the day. It also works quite well in a few of those cocktails that I found in the little booklet that came with the bottle (see one of those recipes below).
In the Throat 12/15
The light pleasant flavour of the wine carries through right to the finish. Things are perhaps just a touch sweeter than I would prefer; however as noted above, serving the wine well chilled or over ice is very agreeable.
Final Impression 4/5
Croft Pink is apparently a new style of Port Wine style, one which although still similar to other Port wines in flavour and sweetness is much more laid back and easy-going. This is a good thing, as this wine really does offer us something new. I would suggest that because this style of Port is much lighter and more laid back, it should be enjoyed in a different manner than we would enjoy traditional Port. Rather than sipping the wine from a tulip shaped wine glass. I found this Port wine very much at home in long tall drinks with lots of ice. As you will see down below, I also found a tasty cocktail recipe which mixes Croft Pink with Scotch and Apricot Brandy.
If you are interested in some comparative reviews, here is a link to all of my Dessert Wine Reviews!
Croft Pink on Ice
Serve in a tall glass
Although I enjoy the Croft Pink in a tall ice filled glass, I did find a nice cocktail recipe on the Croft Pink Website.
3/4 oz Croft Pink
3/4 oz Scotch (Famous Grouse works well)
3/4 oz Fresh Orange Juice
1/2 oz Apricot Brandy
Frozen blackberry for garnish
Add the four ingredients with ice into a metal shaker
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a frozen blackberry
Note: My Wine Scores are computed in the same manner as my scores for distilled spirits. This means that my total score out of 100 is generally lower than what you would see in popular wine rating magazines. (Those magazines appear to have a system which scores almost all wines at 85 points or more.)
My system which is described below and you may (loosely) interpret my scores as follows:
0-25 A wine with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 A mediocre wine which will excite no one.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, still rather unexciting.
80-84 Enjoyment begins here.
85-89 Very good to excellent!
90-94 You may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this one yet…but I want to.