Mateus is a brand of medium-sweet frizzante rosé wine produced in Portugal. The brand was created in 1942 and production began at the end of World War II. The wine was especially styled to appeal to the rapidly developing North American and northern European markets. Production grew rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s and by the late 1980s, supplemented by a white version, it accounted for over 40% of Portugal's table wine exports. At that time, worldwide sales were 3.25 million cases per year.
Sogrape, the family company which owns the brand and which is the largest wine producer in Portugal, has more recently diversified into other areas of the Portuguese wine industry, as the popularity of its Mateus brand has declined. In the UK in 2002, the wine was re-packaged and relaunched in a deliberate ploy to capitalise on 1970s nostalgia, although the wine itself had already been made less sweet and slightly more sparkling, in response to modern popular preference for slightly drier wine. The wine continues to be sold, however, in its distinctive narrow-necked, flask-shaped bottle, with unique "baroque historic mansion" label (Mateus Palace in Vila Real, Portugal) and real cork stopper.
More recently, a new variety of the wine has been marketed as "Mateus Rosé Tempranillo" produced in Spain, a deeper shade of pink than the original, but in a clear bottle with a silver foil, aimed at wine drinkers in their twenties, especially young women.
In 2014 the company launched its "Expressions" range comprises three rosé wines – Baga and Shiraz, Baga and Muscat and Aragonez and Zinfandel – and one white wine – a Maria Gomes and Chardonnay blend.
In Mike Sager's May 1989 Los Angeles Times article "The Devil and John Holmes", the late porn star's ex-wife Sharon confides: "On their first date, he'd brought a bottle of Mateus and a handful of flowers. Sharon had watched through the window as he picked them from a neighbor's front yard."
In the 1978 film Animal House, at the home of English professor Professor Dave Jennings (played by Donald Sutherland), where some "grass" is to be consumed, a Mateus bottle is seen being used as a candle-holder.
- Robinson, Jancis (Ed.) The Oxford Companion to Wine. Oxford: Oxford University Press, second edition, 1999.
- Mateus Rose raises glass to 70s nostalgia
- The Independent: Mateus makes comeback with new rosé but same bottle
- Mike Sager (May 1989). "The Devil and John Holmes". Los Angeles Times.
- departedflights.com, 1977 Frontier airline advertisement, "Frankly, we don't think of good food as a frill."