Douro Valley, Portugal
The purchase of 32 pipes of Port from the Real Companhia Velha in 1815 began the story of one of the great names of Port, Fonseca, and the story of ﬁve great families of the Douro Valley. The Fonsecas and the Monteiros, who originally established the business, the Guimaraens who built the ﬁrm’s reputation as a ‘First Growth’ vintage Port producer, the Yeatmans who steered the company into a new millennium, and the Taylor’s Port family who have brought Fonseca successfully into its third century.
Fonseca shipped its first vintage Port to London in 1840, and by the mid-19th century had established the House’s wines as some of the most sought after in England. The releases of the 1851 and 1868 vintages built the House’s renown as a master of vintage Port, then in 1874 they began to ship Crusted Port for the first time, a tradition continued to this day. Fonseca’s three Quintas, or vineyard sites, are at the heart of the House’s idiosyncratic style of Port, allowing the production of distinctive wines, whilst also being pioneering in organic and sustainable viticulture in the Douro Valley.
Quinta do Panascal was one of the ﬁrst properties to have organically certified vineyards as early as 1992, whilst Quinta de Santo António is a prize-winning model of sustainable viticulture. In 2002, Fonseca were the first to produce a fully organic Port, Terra Prima, produced from a specific vineyard plot managed by head winemaker David Guimaraens. The result is a ﬁrm, fresh Port of great structure and flavour.