Friday, August 14, 2020

Mateus 2019 Dry Rosé Reimagines A Classic

Mateus 2019 Dry RoséGuess who’s back? Mateus reinvents itself as the world embraces dry rosé.

A Pink Icon

In a world that is awash in blush wines, Mateus holds a unique place. This Portuguese wine practically invented the category of rosé more than 75 years ago.

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Mateus was created by Fernando van Zeller Guedes in 1942. A pink, sweet and slightly fizzy, it was targeted at the Brazilian market, but soon became the craze in the US and Britain. At one point it was the best-selling wine in the US.

Around the world, Mateus was wildly popular in the early ‘70s. Fans included Queen Elizabeth, Jimi Hendrix and even Saddam Hussein. At the end of the decade, Mateus accounted for more than 40% of Portugal’s wine export sales.

Bottling Success

Helping propel Mateus to success was its unique bottle. The dark green bottle echoed the shape of water flasks carried by Portuguese soldiers in World War I. The label carried an illustration of the Palace of Mateus.

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I know the bottle well! As a college student striving to impress a date, I bought a bottle of Mateus for a romantic evening. At the time, my taste really ran toward draft beer. On reflection, I probably would’ve been better off with a six pack of Stroh’s beer. (It would take years for my wine palate to evolve!)

Times change – just like my taste in beverages. It isn’t quite accurate to say that Mateus is back. It never went away, but while the world was engulfed with a growing flood of dry rosé, Mateus was largely forgotten in the US.

Mateus is considered the crown jewel of the Sogrape wine portfolio and it determined the time was ripe to rejuvenate the brand. Mateus is in more than 120 markets globally and 20 million bottles are sold annually. It’s new look is certain to capture new fans.

A New Classic?

The term “new classic” may seem an oxymoron, but it fits Mateus. The producers have taken a brilliant approach. First, they lost the dark green glass in order to showcase the beautiful pink jewel tones of the wine. For us, part of the delight with rosé is drinking it in visually.

The second move was to retain the shape of the bottle, but tweak it into a flowing design that is both unique yet harkens to the original bottle. The package is completed with a contemporary label that shrinks the Palace of Mateus and uses stylish silver.

Inside the bottle, the product has changed too. The wine is made with Baga and Shiraz grapes and the residual sugar is lower than in the past, in sync with today’s tastes. We opened a bottle of the 2019 release and found it to be an enjoyable sipper. The wine is a touch heavier than Provence rosé, but that’s fine with us. There are flavor notes of red berries and it is lively – although no frizzante. At $12.99 SRP, this is a good choice for weekends on the patio or to take on a socially-distant visit with friends.

Full disclaimer – This wine was received as a marketing sample.

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