Vintage Port is the jewel of every shipper's portfolio, often touted as the most prized of all Port wines.
It is generally accepted that the first vintage Port was produced in the late 1700s; the first generally declared vintage was that of 1775. The first Fonseca Vintage Porto was produced in 1847, and is considered today to be one of the classic vintage Ports of the nineteenth century.
The backbone of Fonseca Vintage Ports are the wines drawn primarily from Fonseca's three quintas, all located in the Cima Corgo: Quinta de Santo Antonio and Quinta do Cruzeiro, both along the Pinhao River to the north of the Douro River; and Quinto do Panascal, along the Tavora River to the south. All three properties are A-rated, and were purchased by the firm in the 1970s; the former two had been under contract to Fonseca Guimaraens since the early 1 900s. The finest grapes from these quinta are blended with wines from other quinta long under contract to Fonseca to produce its classic vintage Ports. The grapes are still trodden by foot in the stone "lagares" of Cruzeiro, an extremely physically demanding and labor-intensive process but one for which no substitute has yet been found which will extract the maximum color, tannin and richness from the fruit. This point is of utmost importance, for the process of fortification entails the dilution of the wine by twenty percent of its volume with a colorless, odorless brandy. The concentration and quality of the base wines must therefore be absolutely perfect.
Fonseca Vintage Ports are renowned for their great richness and voluptuousness, and, while powerful and mouthfilling, for their exquisite structure and femininity. In the context of each vintage, they combine the tannic dimension and "grip" which give great Port its longevity with the breed, complexity and perfect balance that are Fonseca's hallmark.
Among the first growths of the Douro, Fonseca
Vintage Porto is clearly the "Margaux of Port."