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.
Vintage Ports represent the finest produce of a single exceptional year. Unlike Ports which age in wood, Vintage Ports will continue to age and improve in bottle for decades, their character bearing the imprint of both vineyard and wine maker.
Fonseca Vintage Ports are released only when a year produces outstanding wines with long term ageing potential. These classic Vintage Ports are a blend of wines from Cruzeiro, Santo António and Panascal. Cruzeiro contributes concentrated black fruit flavours and firm tannic 'grip'. Panascal adds an opulent luscious fruitiness and a dense velvety texture. Finally, Santo António brings complexity and vibrancy with its fine scented character and fresh acidity.
Although they can be enjoyed when young, Fonseca Vintage Ports will continue to improve in bottle for many decades. They have the stamina and aromatic potential to last for over a hundred years. Attracting the highest scores and auction prices, they are favoured not only by fine wine enthusiasts but also by collectors and investors.
Impenetrable black colour. A classic Fonseca nose dominated by an exuberant, hedonistic fruitiness, a powerful redolence of dark dense blackberry and blackcurrant which slowly releases a heady mix of spicy and herbal aromas, seductive notes of coffee and cocoa, hints of prune and wild scents of gumcistus. The thick velvety tannins give the wine a voluptuous density, integrating effortlessly with the sumptuous infusion of blackberry jam, dark chocolate and liquorice which coats the palate. The tannins are also present on the finish which brims with blackberry and blackcurrant flavour.