From the legendary 1840, Fonseca's first Vintage Port release, to the superb declared vintages of the last decade, the house has produced a succession of highly acclaimed wines even in the most adverse moments of history. This consistency derives not only from continuity of family involvement, and the knowledge and skill passed down from one generation to the next, but also a close link with the vineyard. Perhaps more than any other Port house, Fonseca has built a loyal community of Port enthusiasts who value its individuality and the inimitable character of its wines. These include connoisseurs, collectors, sommeliers and restaurateurs as well as those who simply enjoy drinking its wonderfully rich and complex Ports.
The 1985 vintage was preceded by an exceptionally cold, wet winter, with night temperatures well below freezing in early January. Berryset was excellent and the young bunches perfectly formed. The summer was hot throughout the region, with no rainfall during July and August. Fonseca picked earlier than most other shippers and the harvest was brought in under ideal conditions before the rain which fell later in the month of September. Conditions were ideal for fermentation resulting in must of exceptional colour and weight.
Fonseca 1985 has a deep inky ruby colour with a broad red rim just turning to brick at the edge. It has a generous and seductive nose redolent of blackcurrant and cherry. Dense, luscious black fruit laced with dark chocolate, liquorice and roasted coffee. Exotic herbal and resiny scents emerge an hour after decanting. Later the fruit becomes more luscious and creamier, with rich raspberry jam flavours overlaying the dark fruity base. The full round palate is supported by thick well integrated tannins and delivers an abundance of luscious chocolate and blackcurrant flavour which lingers into the long velvety finish. A wine poised between youth and maturity.
Robert Parker awarded the 1985 from Fonseca 90 points. "One of the top successes of the vintage. Dense ruby/purple with the Oriental spice box aroma, the 1985 is expansive, sweet, broadly flavoured wine with outstanding depth, concentration and balance."