James Suckling, in his authoritative book on Vintage Port, put it as follows: 'The vintage Ports of Fonseca are perhaps the most consistently great of them all. Not only do they have a striking fleshiness and powerful richness when young, but they retain that youthfulness for decades.'
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. The firm's three estates of Cruzeiro, Panascal and Santo António are the heart of the distinctive character of Fonseca's Vintage Ports.
Fonseca's respect for the vineyard and the unique environment of the Douro Valley expresses itself in the firm's leadership in the field of Sustainable and Organic viticulture. It was the first house to offer a Port made entirely from Organically produced grapes.
As it matures in cask, Tawny Port gradually loses the deep red 'ruby' colour of youth and takes on the seductive amber hue known as 'tawny'. At the same time the wine becomes progressively smoother and mellower, its aromas gaining in richness and complexity.
Fonseca 10 Year Old Tawny is russet in colour 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, plumy finish.
Fonseca 20 Year Old Tawny is deep amber in colour with russet highlights. Its superb bouquet is a complex marriage of ripe, plummy, mature fruit, warm spicy overtones of cinnamon and butterscotch and subtle oak nuances.