Tag Archives: Fonseca

Hard a’ port (Porto, Portugal – Day One)

Only a week a go I was talking about a style of wine considered to be very old-fashioned and makes one think of old British movies. This wine was sherry, and it is interesting that about two weeks later I am here where they produce the other wine that comes to mind which is port. Sherry and port share a few things in common apart from being thought of as an old persons drink. Firstly they are both fortified wines, but in the case of port the fortification is made during the fermentation to stop it and retain a residual sugar, whereas sherry with the exception of pedro ximenez and muscatel are fortified after the fermentation. Secondly the fortification was important for the transportation and spread of port as it was for sherry, but it was actually British wine merchants who introduced the process into port whereas the Moors introduced it in sherry. The third similarity is with the fact that like dry sherries, cask-aged port doesn’t age in the bottle and should be consumed pretty soon after bottling, whereas vintage port ages in the bottle and can keep for a very long time indeed. The first fundamental difference between the two is that the vast majority of port is made from red grapes, whereas more sherry is made from white grapes. Along the same lines, almost all port is sweet whereas the majority of sherry is either dry or medium-dry. Like sherry however, port is also undervalued and underappreciated, and the best examples are truly exceptional wines regardless of their style.

The port halls of Taylor’s

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Fonseca – 13/07/2012

Bin 27 (Reserve Ruby)
Slightly oxidative toasty notes, slightly smoky dark currants. Lovely and viscous, warm and slightly spicy, fresh vibrant fruits, smooth and straight but mellow and slightly woody. Youthful and fresh.

Terra Prima (organic viticulture)
Very slightly earthier and spicier, certainly more ‘porty’, a little smokier. Softer and more red wine-like on the palate, ripe and intense, showing less of the sweetness, more integrated spice elements, softer and more a cuisine wine.

LBV 2007
Brighter on the nose, much more aromatic, earthier and less dark fruits, more in a dried raspberry and cranberry realm. Fuller and richer in it’s fruit and sweetness, although showing more of the alcohol in a rum kind of way. Much punchier and hotter in it’s texture and structure. Finishes a little short, undercooked somehow, not balanced.

10 year old Tawny
Wonderfully caramelised and toasty, burnt orange and cinnamon. Wonderfully soft and light, still quite fresh, persistent concentrated, not too sweet, nice balance and great acidity. A little savoury celery on the back.

20 year old Tawny
Much lighter in colour. Sweeter and smoother like whiskey. Bright intense but much more refined and considerd. Showing the wood in a very confident way. Powerful and explosive almost, yet subtle and complex. Still with a nice slightly savoury fresh finish.

40 year old Tawny
Insanely subtle and complex but much smokier and caskier. Nutmeg, cinnamon, warm spice and cherry stalks. Voluptous opulent silky and long, integrated wood and sweetness, almost like crème brulee. Exquisitely balanced and pure, yet with layers of complexity.

Quinta do Panascal VP 2008
More grapey and young, mostly fruit on the nose but you see the potential for ageing. Fuller and more robust, very sweet profile, intense and ripe fruits. Very hot and young, mostly seeing the fruit which will age gracefully.

VP 2009
Much toastier and smokier on the nose, fruit is more subdued and yet to open. Big on the front, and on the middle, but clean on the back. Much more oak influence, will take a while to lose this and soften out. Much more structure, fruit subdued for now. Needs time.

Some of the Fonseca wines from the tasting

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