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10th Wine: Fonseca Crusted Port

  • Fonseca has an inherited tradition of winemaking skill and knowledge where the wines have been made by the same family since its foundation in 1822.
  • The Fonseca house style is one of richness and warmth, with a lush fruit intensity.
  • More voluptuous than massive, Fonseca Ports are coveted for their sumptuous yet refined body and great longevity.
  • Founded in 1822, when Manuel Pedro Guimaraens acquired control of the Fonseca & Monteiro Company.
  • As a condition of the sale of his shares to Guimaraens, the departing Fonseca stipulated that his name be retained.
  • During the Liberal Wars of 1828-34 in Portugal, Guimaraens was a supporter of the liberal reforms of King Pedro IV of Portugal.
  • But when Portugal put Pedro’s brother Miguel on the throne, Guimaraens found himself in danger due to his liberal support.
  • He fled Portugal, hidden in an empty Port wine barrel and later settled in England where the Fonseca company was headquartered until 1927.
  • During this period, Fonseca grew rapidly in reputation and importance.
  • Crusted is a rare, traditional style of port and Fonseca is one of the few firms that produce it.
  • A high quality ruby wine, which has sediment just like a vintage port.
  • Fonseca Crusted is a blend of full-bodied wines, bottled with no filtration and then cellared for three years before being released for sale.
  • As the name indicates, it will form a ‘crust’ or sediment in the bottle and should be decanted before being served.
  • The formation of this ‘crust’ is a natural process that occurs in the finest full-bodied ports.
  • It is an indication that the wine will continue to improve in the bottle and develop it’s aroma and character with age.
  • Crusted port is usually a blend of port wine from several vintages, although single vintage crusted ports have sometimes been made in the past.
  • Unlike vintage port, which has to be sourced from grapes from a single vintage, crusted port affords the port blender the opportunity to make best use of the varying characteristics of different vintages.
  • Crusted port is bottled unfiltered.
  • Like vintage port it needs to be decanted before drinking.
  • Although crusted ports will improve with age, the blender often seeks to make these wines approachable at a younger age than for his vintage ports. The date on a crusted port bottle refers to the bottling date, not the year the grapes were grown.
  • While crusted port is required to be aged in bottle for at least three years before it is released.
  • Therefore they are ready to be drunk when sold.
  • Tasting Note: Powerful aromatic bouquet, with dark berry fruits. Great layers of complexity and flavour. Plump raisin, spice, eucalyptus notes as well as the berry fruit flavours. An elegant and finely balanced wine.
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