Red, Rosé or Clarete?

Open Red is the newest wine to be launched by one of the Algarve’s most successful producers Quinta do Barranco Longo.

Winemaker Rui Virginia is an expert at catering to, and even being ahead of, market trends and this is another good example, following on from the “Blush” rosé that he launched last year. 

The wine is not being sold as a rosé and can be found on the shelves of the region’s better supermarkets alongside Algarve reds. I picked up a bottle at Apolónia last week (€12.95) and, on my first taste, it took me straight back to what used to be my favourite Portuguese rosé (although it was also not actually a rosé), the old “Palhete” that was once made at the Covela winery up north.

What we have here is a rosé that is too red to be classed as such, hence the name “Clarete” or the Portuguese “Palhete”, both referring to a paler version of red wine.

This is made by allowing the red skins to stay in contact with the must for a longer period of time than they would for a rosé, separating the skins before it becomes a full-blown red. This wine has been made with a great deal of care, keeping alcohol to just 11.5% with only 3,070 bottles produced.

This is a wine to be drunk young and enjoyed slightly chilled, ideal as a substitute for a red wine on a hot summer day. The wine is un-oaked with juicy notes of raspberries on the nose (check out the image of a raspberry on the label). It is clean and fresh in the mouth with soft tannins and just a touch of sweetness on the finish. 

And as for the name “Open Red”, this is a clever play on words. In Portuguese, the literal translation “tinto aberto” would refer to a paler colour or lighter-structured red wine, but in English, we can take it more literally, as a red to be opened and enjoyed now! Well done, Barranco Longo.

By Patrick Stuart
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