A bit of marketing genius, and a very nice Algarve rosé

Barranco Longo near Algoz is one of the most successful wineries in the Algarve. In Lisbon and elsewhere in Portugal, often the only Algarve wines to be found on restaurant wine lists are from this producer.

Owner and winemaker Rui Virgínia has always had his finger on the pulse when it comes to wine trends, creating a range of blends and varietals to please the consumer and ensure healthy sales. This Blush rosé, launched earlier this year, exemplifies this approach.

Looking at the front label, there is nothing to tell us that this is a Portuguese wine, let alone an Algarve wine. What we see is some blusher, the word Blush and the French winemaking phrase Tête de Cuvée. I was surprised to see this French on the label, a phrase which relates to a wine made from the first pressing, which is, of course, the case with nearly all quality wine, but it is a clever way of adding some je ne sais quoi to the label.

The consumer could very well pick up a bottle (€9.95 at Apolónia) and think they are buying a French or even perhaps a New World pink in the Provence style. And chances are that after enjoying a bottle, they will be back for more.

This is one of the best Portuguese rosés I have ever tried under or around the €10 price range. There are fresh and delicate red fruit notes on the nose and a slight creaminess in the mouth with good acidity and a dry yet fruity finish. So, this is a wine that looks and tastes like a Provence pink, but it is actually 100% Portuguese, made from the indigenous Touriga Nacional variety right here in the Algarve.

By PATRICK STUART [email protected]