Volcanic rosé from the Azores

The volcanic islands of the Azores are starting to gain recognition as a wine producing region. In fact, wine has been produced here for many centuries, but it was only when the islands gained UNESCO World Heritage status as a wine region in 2004 that the potential in terms of quality wine started to draw attention.

One of the most recent projects is the Azores Wine Company, one of the partners of which is António Maçanita, a highly respected Portuguese winemaker (his projects include Fita Preta/Sexy Wines) amongst many others.

The vines are grown on the rocky coastline at the base of a volcanic mountain, a terroir which, according to the text on the label of this rosé, defies the definition of usable soil and where nothing other than grapes could possibly grow.

I found the wine last week at Apolónia, priced at just under €10, not cheap for a rosé, but this is something quite different to anything else from Portugal on the shelves. I would go as far as saying that this is one of the best Portuguese rosés I have tried and one of the very few that has the structure and acidity to be taken seriously as a food wine.

On the nose, there are delicate red fruit notes and a full flavour in the mouth with a touch of creaminess and a dry mineral finish, a good match for grilled meats and salad on a hot summer day.

By PATRICK STUART [email protected]