The purchase of 32 pipes of Port from the Real Companhia Velha in 1815 began the story of one of the great names of Port, Fonseca, and the story of ﬁve great families of the Douro Valley. The Fonsecas and the Monteiros, who originally established the business, the Guimaraens who built the ﬁrm’s reputation as a ‘First Growth’ vintage Port producer, the Yeatmans who steered the company into a new millennium, and the Taylor’s Port family who have brought Fonseca successfully into its third century.
During the January following each vintage, Fonseca sets aside a reserve of very concentrated, powerful vintage quality red ports, selected primarily from the firm’s own quintas and judged according to their ageing potential. These are placed in cask and cellared. Tawny ports of age are blended across several vintages to maintain quality and continuity of style, and thus show an “apparent”, or average, age on the label rather than a vintage date. As tawny ports age, they grow lighter in colour, as they throw their deposit in the cask rather than in the bottle. Moreover, Fonseca cellars its aged tawnies in the Douro rather than in Vila Nova de Gaia; the considerable difference in heat and humidity between these two areas lends Fonseca’s tawny ports of age a very distinctive “baked” richness reminiscent of butterscotch.
This port is a russet color with brilliant crimson highlights and a fragrant, ripe-fruit bouquet. Its smooth, silky texture and subtle oak nuances are balanced by a fresh acidity and tannic ‘grip’ that culminate in a long, elegant finish. How to serve Chill to just below cellar temperature (about 10ºC). In summer, serve at the end of the meal as a refreshing alternative or try as one of the few dessert wines to match chocolate.