Lancers Rose is an old wine, an old American wine from Portugal, if that makes any sense. It was launched in 1944 when wine merchant Henry Behar visited Europe looking for a rosé to appeal to the American palate, which he found being produced at Fonseca, or so the official story goes.
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Ubiquitously available, usually found next to other "antiques" like Mateus and Riunite Lambrusco, this was sold for over 60 years in an oddly-shaped, squat bottle tinted to look like crockery. Very recently, the company made a change to frosted clear glass with large embossed lettering. I find the new treatment somewhat tawdry, albeit not as bad as the Mateus "perfume bottle", but inside is the same old Lancers.
As seems to have been de rigueur for wines of that era, Lancers Rose is off-dry. It's not quite as sweet as the Riunite Lambrusco or even Beringer's white Zin in a bad year, but nonetheless has a little more residual sugar than we're used to in a sparkling wine.
Looking back to cookbooks from Lancers's heyday, one gets the impression that the American taste was for bland food, and if Lancers is telling, bland wines were in as well. Lancers has a faint cherry note and an appreciable vinho verde-like acid zip, but that's it; it otherwise tastes like the generic whites sold in gallon jugs for making pasta sauce. This is somewhat puzzling, as the grapes from which it's made aren't Trebbiano-like throwaways. "Aragonez"--a synonym of Tinta Roriz, better known as Tempranillo--and Touriga Nacional are the base of most ports and the Douro's finest reds; Castelão and Trincadeira likewise produce good vinhos de mesa in the south. Yes, they are usually vinified as reds and not rosés, but I suspect that Lancers is under-extracted given the fruit that goes in.
Lancers is not an unpleasant wine, and while off-dry it isn't flabby like many other cheap rosés, but, aside from the novelty bottle and bubbles, has nothing to recommend it over jug rosés, some of which are far more flavorful. Trader Joe's, Sunflower Market, and similar specialty supermarkets now carry far better sparklers in the same price category from Germany, Italy, and France. If you're interested in it as an historical curiosity, or are the type who buys old baseball-card packs to chew the gum, give it a try once; it's also available in single-serving, 6-ounce bottles.
Wine Rating Scale: Drinkable