Last weekend at Apolónia Lagoa, a tasting was taking place of the whites and the rosé produced at Quinta da Calçada (up in the Minho) under the Portal da Calçada label.
These are the entry level wines from the producer, at the estate which is best known for its luxury hotel Casa da Calçada, with its Michelin starred restaurant Largo do Paço.
I had never tried their rosé before, and considering the price at €5.99 (reduced last weekend by 25% to €4.49), I was not expecting this to be anything special.
The fact is that the vast majority of the cheaper pale salmon pink rosés made in the Provence style taste of very little at all.
But my first sniff of this when offered a tasting at Apolónia delivered a great deal more than I was expecting. This is actually a Vinho Verde made from the Vinhão grape (known as Sousão in the Douro), a dark skinned grape with a pink inside used up in the Minho to make inky red Vinho Verde Tinto and in the Douro to add colour and structure to Port wine.
But here, made without skin contact and by just fermenting the pink juice of the grape, it produces a delightful rosé, fresh and fragrant on the nose with a lively acidity in the mouth and nice fruity/dry finish. This is something of a bargain at the full price of €5.99 and was a give-away last weekend with 25% off.
No wonder it was all sold out by Sunday, but I was assured more would be in stock this week.