A bold new concept for Portugal in 1942 was the launch of one of the world’s most innovative and widely consumed wines, the Mateus Rosé Original wine.
Its striking image of the Mateus castle, its unique flavour profile and curiously-shaped bottle (inspired by the flasks used by soldiers in World War I) brought it near-instantaneous fame worldwide.
Today, Sogrape Vinhos, the maker of Mateus, sells the wine in more than 120 countries, ranging from New Zealand and Japan to the UK and US.
Mateus Rosé Original has a very appealing and bright hue. On the whole, it is a fresh and seductive wine with a fine and intense bouquet and the joviality of young wines. In the mouth, it is well-balanced and tempting, brilliantly complemented by a soft and slightly fizzy finish.
The award-winning (Mondial du Rosé, France, 2018) Mateus Rosé should be served chilled (6ºC-8ºC) in a flute or a tulip-shaped red-wine glass. The gluten-free wine is available in India in 750-ml bottles at 11% ABV and with a low sugar content of 15 grams per litre.
According to Miguel Pinto, Head of Global Sales for Sogrape Vinhos, Mateus is an “anytime, anywhere” wine – being a rosé, it lends itself to consumption at any time of the day or night; its flavour profile suited to any ritual or informal occasion; and its low sugar content an added advantage to attract consumers.
Miguel points out that the UK, a predominantly beer-guzzling nation till the 1950s, got its “wine revolution” thanks to the popularity of Mateus Rosé! It also made deep inroads into the US, now Sorgrape Vinhos’ biggest export market.
An astounding 10 grape varietals go into the making of Mateus (Rufete, Tinta Barocca and Touriga Franca), but mainly Braga. The wine still accounts for around 13% of all Portugal’s bottled wine exports, Miguel informs me.
As for food pairing, Miguel assures us, the Mateus Rosé goes well with savoury, crispy seafood; Sushi and Sashimi; salads, pizza and filled pitta bread; burgers, sandwiches and wraps; cold meat and cheese platters; and with grilled, baked or fried vegetables.
Mateus Sparkling Brut Rosé has a beautiful, pale, rose petal pink colour, with light hues of salmon. The copious bubbles are extremely fine and the resulting delicate mousse, persistent.
Refined and crisp with floral nuances, this wine has pleasing aromas of apples, pears and raspberries and subtle notes of toasted bread, which interplay with a fresh and lively acidity, providing an aromatic and delicate finish.
This gluten-free, award-winning (Challenge International du Vin, France, 2018) wine, available in India in 750-ml bottles at 11.5% ABV and low sugar content (12 grams per litre), is best served at 6ºC-8ºC.
According to B.A. Aiyappa, India commercial Director, Mumbai-based Aspri Spirits, Mateus Sparkling Brut Rosé is best suited for brunch and goes well with summer salads; firm and flaky seafood; grilled and fried vegetables; and cold meat and cheese platters.
For Miguel, India presents a big opportunity for Mateus Rose for four reasons: its open-to-ideas ethos, stable democracy, sustainable demography, and rich gastronomic culture.
Although he realises that wine consumption in India is minuscule, he feels the entry-level Mateus is primed to break into people’s fancy and palates on account of its flavour profile. He has seen that happening in the UK, New Zealand and Australia already!
Mateus Rosé and Mateus Sparkling Brut Rosé have been distributed in India by Aspri Spirits since 2010. Sales of the former have been growing at a CAGR of 30%, Aiyappa says.
While the Rosé retails in the range of Rs 1,200 to Rs 2,400 (depending on state excise tariffs), the Sparkling Brut Rosé is priced 10% more. To reach out to a wider audience, Aspri Spirits is going beyond the fine-dine sector and venturing into bars and nightclubs, where there is a trend towards mindful drinking, Aiyappa adds.
Also very popular among neo-converts to wine, the 185-ml bottles are in wide circulation in the UK and US. It might be some time before the Sograpes management and Aspri Spirits decide on introducing the convenient format, Miguel says.
As for Mateus selling in ready-to-drink cans, Miguel says experiments are already underway in established markets, to test their popularity and the cost options.
Hugo Souto, Area Manager-Asia, Sogrape Vinhos, says Sogrape is Portugal’s leading wine company, with several top-selling brands and exceptional vineyards in the country’s main wine-growing regions: Vinho Verde, Douro/ Porto, Dão, Bairrada, Bucelas and the Alentejo.
Sogrape owns 980 hectares of vineyards, cultivates 61 grape varieties, and exports 72% of its produce. Apart from Portugal, the group also owns vineyards and wineries in Argentina, Chile, France, New Zealand and Spain, farming a total of 3,500 hectares. In Asia, Hugo adds, Mateus Rosé has a near-fan following in Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
The founder of Sogrape Vinhos, Fernando van Zeller Guedes, employed innovative marketing campaigns across geographies, to help sales grow upon year. Some were even based on partnerships with ambassadors and consuls in cities around the world. That has resulted in Mateus conquering the US, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia.