‘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.’
– James Suckling, book on Vintage Port
Fonseca is one of the great port lodges, producing the most exotic and most complex port. With its lush, seductive character, one might call it the Pomerol of Vintage ports.’
– Robert Parker, The Wine Buyer’s Guide
Fonseca belongs in the first league of vintage Port houses. Few Port profucers have maintained such consistency of quality and style from vintage to vintage.
Since the emergence of Vintage Port as a great classic wine in the first half of the 19th century, Fonseca has been one of its most admired and consistent producers. The release of the legendary 1840, the first Vintage Port sold under the Fonseca name, marked the start of a steady stream of magnificent vintages which continues to this day. It has included such icons as the Fonseca 1868 and the extraordinary 1927, 1948, 1977 and 1994, all four of them 100-point wines.
Four families have shaped the company’s destiny since its foundation in 1815. The story begins with the Fonsecas and Monteiros, the original founders of the business. Then came the Guimaraens family who led the firm for over a century and first established its reputation as a ‘first growth’ Vintage Port house. And finally the Yeatmans and their descendants who steered the company successfully through the second half of the 20th century and into the new millennium.
While for the collector or connoisseur, Fonseca may be synonymous with Vintage Port, to many wine lovers around the world it is best known as the producer of Bin No.27, one of the most popular Ports ever made.
Over the years, Fonseca’s determination to preserve and refine its distinctive house style has drawn it ever closer to the vineyard. The last three decades of the 20th century saw it invest in vineyard ownership and take a leading role in vineyard renovation in the Douro Valley. Fonseca’s three estates, Panascal, Cruzeiro and Santo António, with their distinctive terroirs, have a key role in defining the unmistakable character of the firm’s wines. Fonseca also became a pioneer of organic and sustainable viticulture, helping to conserve the unique ecosystem and landscape of the valley for future generations.
As it approaches its bicentenary, Fonseca can take pride in its past and look forward to the future with confidence. Wine drinkers increasingly seek wines of authenticity and character with a genuine story to tell and made by creative winemakers who understand their terroir and respect the environment.
The wine critic James Suckling, author of the most comprehensive book on Vintage Port written to date, once described Fonseca as ‘the Bentley’ of Vintage Port, meaning the producer of wines for the connoisseur and enthusiast. Like the famous luxury cars, Fonseca Vintage Ports are thoroughbreds, the result of craftsmanship and skill, but also of passion and creativity. As it has since the mid-19th century, Fonseca continues to be defined by its position as one of a very small handful of top Vintage Port houses, a producer of wines by enthusiasts for enthusiasts.