20 Year Old Tawny Port
A touch darker in profile than its peers, with toasted black sesame, caramel, walnut and hazelnut cream notes backed by singed orange peel and ginseng accents. Stays focused thanks to a light bitter almond thread on the finish, giving this a slightly drier feel. Drink now. 2,050 cases made, 1,600 cases imported. — JM
This aged tawny Porto is made from selected grapes from the best vineyards of the Cima Corgo and Douro Superior. In the winery, the newly developed, robotic “Port Toes” technology for treading allows the winery to maximize the quality of the fruit by mimicking the gentle action of human feet during traditional foot treading. Fermentation is halted by the addition of grape spirits before all the residual sugar has been fermented, creating a sweet, fortified wine. Each year, a portion of this ruby wine is set aside according to its aging potential to be added to Fonseca’s stocks for blending. The wine is aged in 600-liter neutral oak barrels, considerably smaller than those used for Ruby Portos. As the stocks age, the wines take on increasingly more nutty flavors and become more concentrated as the barrels lose 3% of their volume every year (the “Angels’ Share”) to evaporation. Fonseca cellars its aged tawnies upriver in the Douro rather than in Vila Nova de Gaia near the river’s mouth; the considerable difference in heat and humidity between these two areas lends Fonseca’s aged tawny Portos a very distinctive “baked” richness reminiscent of butterscotch. The 20 Year Old Tawny is a blend of wines, selected from these stocks, that have been aged for an average of 20 years.
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão, Tinta Amarela
Average of 20 years in neutral oak
The winter preceding the 2012 harvest was much colder and drier than usual, with only 183,6mm of rain falling at Pinhão between November and March. Bud burst occurred at the normal time towards the third week in March followed by good levels of rainfall in April and early May. At the end of May the vineyards showed low vigour, a result of the extremely dry winter and cooler than normal spring. Continued good weather during June and July led to the healthy evolution of the vines, although the smaller berries and bunches showed a low yield for the year. Vérasion occurred a little later than usual.
This is a mature wine of deep amber color with russet highlights. The bouquet’s complex marriage of ripe, plummy fruit, warm cinnamon and butterscotch notes and subtle oak nuances are confirmed on the palate, which is sweet and voluminous, with a velvety texture carrying into a long, elegant finish.
Pairs well with figs, almonds, pecan pie, caramel and crème brûlée. It can be served at the end of the meal on its own, with walnuts or dried fruit, and can be slightly chilled in the summer. Made to be enjoyed immediately.