January 29, 2008 / 12:10 PM / 12 years ago

UK retailer launches "Pink Port" for the ladies

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Women will no longer have to leave the room when the port is being served with the launch of “Pink Port” aimed at the female palate.

A Marks and Spencer store is seen in Oxford Street in central London, January 8, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Leading British retailer, Marks and Spencer, on Monday introduced what it says is the world’s first brand of port created to appeal to women.

M&S port specialist Sue Daniels said, “Some people wrongly think port is the preserve of men but we have created a drink which will appeal to women because it is light and flavorsome and we expect it to be as popular on a summer’s day as it will be in the middle of winter.”

Pink Port was invented after booming sales of rose wine and is meant to be served over ice as a refreshing drink, or as an accompaniment to dessert.

It is bright pink with a fruit aroma. Made from classic red port grapes winemakers created the light color from using only a small amount of the tannin-loaded grape skin.

M&S hails Pink Port’s “smooth and round palate,” but experts beg to differ.

“This doesn’t taste like any port I know - it’s more like vodka and cranberry juice,” said editor of Decanter magazine Guy Woodward.

“The nose smells like a rose but then you get this whack of confected fruits and alcohol on the palate.....It tastes rather cheap, and is worryingly close to the alcopop market,” he said, referring to the heavily flavored sweet alcoholic drinks which appeal to underage drinkers.

“I think the whole concept is a bit bizarre,” Simon Field, Master of Wine and buyer at Berry Bros. and Rudd told Reuters.

“The whole point of port is the integration of concentrated fruit with spirit that gives it its longevity and character,” he said, critical of the Pink Port process which takes only a small amount of color from the grape skins.

Field said although a “bit gimmicky”, the Pink Port, “Should appeal to wine drinkers because it is high in alcohol and relatively sweet.”

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