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Delhi Wine Club
Croft Port: The Pink Cadillac

Posted: Monday, 21 May 2012 10:53

Croft Port: The Pink Cadillac

May 21 : Although commonly used Port styles are Ruby Red, White, in terms of colour and Tawny, LBV (late bottle vintage), Colheita and Vintage, based on ageing process and time, Rosé or Pink Port has hit the scene during the last few years and though purists may scoff at the idea, they make delicious summertime cocktails like The Pink Cadillac that are extremely refreshing and interesting summer drinks ,writes Subhash Arora who recently enjoyed several in Porto, especially at Hotel Yeatman where he stayed.

Click For Large ViewDuring the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles held near Porto in Portugal recently, wherever we visited, be it a winery or a dinner, we were generally welcome with a cocktail using Rosé Port as the base and mixed with different juices, fruits and liqueurs  that not only gave a different character to the Port but also made it very enjoyable.

This pink salmon coloured fortified wine from Porto is produced by a light and short maceration of red grapes without any oxidation during the preservation. Very aromatic and light on the palate, these wines are easier to drink as I found with a Croft Rose Port, when I had it with lunch last year at the restaurant, adjacent to the warehouse and owned by the Fladgate Partnership and which is a popular eating place for locals and tourists alike.

The credit for introducing Pink Port goes to Croft, owned by the Fladgate Partners who also owns the prestigious Taylor’s and Fonseca Port labels and the newly built 5-star Yeatman Hotel on the slopes of Gaia, the town across Porto.  As Lorenzo Bakewell Stone, the brand ambassador of Croft Pink Port explained, ‘the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto (IVDP) which defends and regulates the strictly framed rules of making Port since 1932 is very sticky about the Port specifications and we decided many times earlier to get the Pink Port allowed under the laws. Eventually it was only in 2008 when they agreed for a different category that we were able to produce this light and refreshing Port for the modern day drinkers.

Versatile Drink

Although it is fortified as other Ports, it becomes lighter and refreshing by adding fruits and crushed ice. Watermelon juice, citrus fruits, cut oranges, lemonade/soda-Limca and lemon juice, addition of chopped red fruits like strawberries, cherries or grapes-both red and white adds a different dimension to its personality. It can make an excellent drink with Prosecco or Champagne. Pour it over strawberry ice-cream and it changes its personality and adds a punch.

Punchy Pink

The Brand Ambassador, Lorenzo has crafted an exciting cocktail he calls the 'Punchy Pink. Prepared in a jug or pitcher, one can use equal parts of Croft Pink and lemonade (Limca/7 Up will do). Another part will be pomegranate juice and sparkling wine, to which one may add chopped strawberries, red and white eating grapes, cherries or other fruits of choice (you may add other fruits of choice too).

Pink Port in Bollywood

Lorenzo was in India a couple of months ago, to promote the Pink Port. ‘Everyone we showed Croft Pink to in India was excited about it.Jaswinder Narang at the Le Meridien in Pune wanted to make Pink his central cocktail ingredient with a special Pink Port cocktail menu. I did a well received consumer sampling at Dome, Intercontinental in Mumbai, where Croft Pink will soon be served on the roof terrace; and I presented Croft Pink also at a wine dinner in Mumbai at which a few celebrities and wealthy Mumbai business men were present, including Mr. Vidhu Vinod Chopra and the Mittal construction family.’ In fact, this visit inspired him to name a recipe as Pink Bollywood.

Pink Kashmir with 60 mL Croft Pink Port mixed with 30 mL of Apricot nectar and 3 grinds of finely ground black pepper with 30 mL of syrup has been a big hit too

Pink Cadillac In Yeatman- the 5-star hotel owned by the group Pink Sangria is the signature drink-made by blending 3 parts of Croft Pink with 2 parts of White Rum, 1 part of syrup,  and 1 part each of  Lemon juice and  Orange juice; its a drink which you cannot stop at just one only.  

Whenever, I saw the Pink Port anywhere in Portugal, it conjured up the sounds of the song Pink Cadillac by Bette Midler in the earlier 80s, which was followed by the Bruce Springsteen and then Natalie Cole in the late eighties. When I told l Lorenzo Bakewell-Stone, the Brand Ambassador for Croft Pink Port, about to leave for Brazil said,’  I am happy to rename the Yeatman Pink Sangria, The Pink Cadillac in honour of its journey to India.

Click For Large ViewThe Pink Port from Croft is perhaps the most versatile alcoholic beverage that I have come across and has scores of possibilities to make different cocktails for all seasons, especially the Indian summer. It will soon be available through Dhall Foods, according to Lorenzo and that too at under Rs. 2000 a bottle. Considering that an opened bottle can be kept for a few weeks easily, it definitely deserves a place in your cellar- even if you don’t drink wine and are a fan of cocktails.

And yes- you may also drink Pink Port from Croft ‘neat’ at 10-12° C, with soda, on the rocks, water, orange juice, lime juice or any liquid or fruit you fancy and say ‘chuck de phattay’.
But for me, it would be a Pink Cadillac, thank you.

Subhash Arora


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