#FavouriteThings Holiday Gift Suggestions | Fonseca Port

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Fonseca has belonged in the first rank of Vintage Port producers since the nineteenth century. Its Vintage Ports are noted for their luscious fruitiness which develops great opulence and complexity with age.

Fonseca Bin 27 Reserve Port



Bin 27 shares the heritage and style of the great Fonseca Vintage Ports, as well as much of their depth and character.
However it is bottled when ready to drink and can be served by the glass directly from the bottle. Blended for consistency of character and quintessentially Fonseca in style, this reserve blend provides reliable and affordable value.

Deep youthful ruby colour. Intense rich fruity nose crammed with pure blackberry, cassis, cherry and plum aromas interwoven with notes of spice.

The palate full bodied and round, with a smooth velvety texture balanced by firm mouth filling tannins. The juicy black fruit flavours linger into the rich luscious finish.


The rich black fruit flavours of Bin 27 are a perfect match for chocolate and berry fruit dishes. A chocolate fondant with strawberries makes a deliciously hedonistic combination with Bin 27, the rich creamy chocolate and luscious ripe strawberries blending seductively with the blackcurrant and cherry fruitiness of the wine. Bin 27 is also excellent served after a meal with bitter chocolate with a high cocoa content or a plate of chocolate brownies or truffles. Like all youthful red Ports, Bin 27 is an excellent match for soft ripe cheeses and can be served on its own at the end of the meal or any other relaxed occasion in a generously proportioned wine glass.


Although for connoisseurs and collectors Fonseca is synonymous with Vintage Port, to thousands of wine drinkers and Port lovers, the wine that springs to mind is Bin 27. This rich and fruity reserve blend is sold all over the world and has a particularly loyal following in North America.


Fonseca Bin 27 was launched in Britain nearly 50 years ago, in 1972. At the time the market for Port was undergoing a profound change. Consumers were becoming more knowledgeable and demanding in their choice of wine. No longer content with the simple young Ports that until then had accounted for much of consumption, they sought more sophisticated and distinctive wines both to enjoy at home and when dining out.

Vintage Port was not always the solution. Although consumers enjoyed the depth of flavour and rich fruitiness of Vintage Ports, the requirement to decant them and finish the bottle within a few hours meant that they were not always the best choice for casual drinking by the glass. Besides this, they were relatively expensive. Fonseca’s sister house, Taylor Fladgate & Yeatman, responded with the successful launch of Late Bottled Vintage, a style of Port developed by the firm. Fonseca, however, decided to do something different.

The house recognised that what defined Fonseca for both the wine trade and the consumer, setting it apart from other Port houses, was the powerful, complex fruit quality of its wines. No other producer was quite able to match the opulent fruitiness which was the unmistakable hallmark of the Fonseca house style and found its ultimate expression in its Vintage Ports. The answer was to create a blend which would convey this magnificent fruit quality in a rounder, more approachable early-drinking style.

After conferring with Cock, Russell & Spedding, the firm’s agents in London at the time, Fonseca’s chairman, Alistair Robertson, set to work and in 1972 the project came to fruition.

Drawing on wines from the Cima Corgo and Douro Superior, the central and eastern areas of the Douro Valley, they created a smooth, full bodied and densely fruity blend in a style known at the time as ‘vintage character’ but usually known today as a finest reserve. By allowing themselves the flexibility of blending across different vintages they were able to create a wine which would be completely consistent in style from one bottling to the next.

Half a century earlier, the firm had followed the custom of naming its Crusted Ports, also made in a full bodied and fruity style, using bin numbers such as Bin 740 or Bin 82 VG. In a revival of this tradition, Alistair decided to call the new blend Bin 27. A distinctive presentation was developed with the name stenciled boldly onto the bottle in white paint and a red seal bearing the Fonseca crest. The stenciled bottle was subsequently emulated by other Port brands and was replaced in the mid-80s by a stylish paper label.

Bin 27 was an immediate success. Five years after its launch it was being sold in nearly thirty countries around the world from Australia to Iceland. Bin 27 was supported by numerous promotional activities over the years including the sponsorship in 1977 of John Ridgway’s yacht Debenhams in the Whitbread Round the World Race and the production in 1984 of the world’s largest wine bottle. This giant bottle of Bin 27 contained 98 litres or the equivalent of 132 regular bottles. It had a circumference of 5 feet at the base, stood 3 feet 1 inch high and was sealed with a 5½ inch cork.

Today Fonseca Bin 27 continues to be blended from selected reserve Ports chosen for their smooth, round, full bodied palate and their fine, intense fruit character. Some of these wines are drawn from Fonseca’s own estates and others made from grapes supplied by independent farmers with which the company maintains a close relationship. The wines are matured in large seasoned oak vats to give them smoothness and complexity while retaining their intense and vibrant fruit character.

Bin 27 shares the heritage and style of the great Fonseca Vintage Ports, as well as much of their depth and character. However it is bottled when ready to drink and can be served by the glass directly from the bottle. Blended for consistency of character and quintessentially Fonseca in style, this reserve blend provides reliable and affordable value.

$24.99 available at BC Liquor Stores and $19.40 at the LCBO

Fonseca Porto Terra Prima



Fonseca was one of the pioneers of organic viticulture in the Douro valley. An area of its flagship estate, Quinta do Panascal in the Távora Valley, was converted to organic viticulture in 1992 and today its Quinta de Santo António in the Pinhão Valley is entirely certified for organic production. Fonseca has also developed partnerships with other growers practising organic viticulture in the Douro Valley.

In 2002 it became possible for the first time to produce a Port made entirely from grapes derived from certified organic viticulture. This was due to an agreement with a specialised distiller who was able to supply grape spirit for fortification made from certified organically farmed grapes.

The result was Terra Prima Reserve, known in the United States as Terra Bella Reserve, an elegant reserve blend, displaying fresh vibrant fruit, in which organic viticulture has allowed the traditional port grape varieties to express their natural aromas to the full.

It is certified as being derived from organically grown grapes by Socert, the Portuguese certifying body which is part of the European Ecocert certification system.


A wonderfully rich, concentrated Port with great flavour and texture. It has an opulent black fruit nose which is followed through on the palate showing layers of intense berry, plum and cherry fruit flavours supported by firm, but well integrated tannins. This is a deliciously textured Port wine, which is velvety, smooth, succulent and plump.


The perfect accompaniment for an indulgent plate of chocolate truffles after dinner or with a chocolate and blueberry fondant as the show stopping dinner party dessert.

$31.99 available at BC Liquor Stores currently on sale for $29.99 until December 31st 

Fonseca Porto 10 year


Wood aged Ports are those which age entirely in cask or vat and are ready to drink when they are bottled.

The mellow, complex style of wood aged Port ages in small oak casks, generally holding about 630 litres. In a cask there is a relatively small volume of wine compared to the surface area of the vessel, so contact with the wood is proportionately greater.

As it matures in cask, a Port gradually loses the deep red ‘ruby’ colour of youth and takes on the seductive amber hue known as ‘tawny’. At the same time the wine becomes progressively smoother and mellower, its aromas gaining in richness and complexity.

As it ages, some of the wine – known as the angel’s share – evaporates and this causes the Port to become increasingly concentrated with age. Fonseca’s magnificent 10 and 20 Year Old Tawny Ports belong in this category. The long years of cask ageing in the Fonseca lodges have given them a wonderfully opulent nutty, spicy flavour.


As it matures in cask, Tawny Port gradually loses the deep red ‘ruby’ colour of youth and takes on the seductive amber hue known as ‘tawny’. At the same time the wine becomes progressively smoother and mellower, its aromas gaining in richness and complexity.

Ten years of wood ageing has given this wine its characteristic tawny colour and its elegant and complex nose full of rich ‘fruit cake’ flavours, delicate nuttiness and hints of spice and fine oak.


Fonseca 10 Year Old Tawny is russet in colour with brilliant crimson highlights and a fragrant, ripe-fruit bouquet. Its smooth, silky texture and subtle oak nuances are balanced by a fresh acidity and tannic “grip” that culminate in a long, elegant, plumy finish.

$39.99 available at BC Liquor Stores

Matching food with Port

You do not need to be a Michelin starred chef or a famous sommelier to create the perfect match for your homemade chocolate torte or your famed apple crumble. On the contrary, pairing the different styles of port wine is actually very straightforward. Cooking with port wine is also very acceptable, but be sure to use a full bodied, young ruby port such as Fonseca Ruby. Cooks are ruthless creatures when they are in the kitchen and the last thing you want, is them nipping into the dining room and adding the contents of the recently decanted Vintage Port into their beef bourguignon – that said, what a main course it would be!

Port is very useful and extremely versatile in cooking, because of its strong, fruity flavours and of course its sweetness. It lifts game dishes to heavenly heights and makes a wonderful reduction or gravy for roast meats.

So, when it comes to that special dinner party, or a more informal mid-week soirée, don’t forget the Port. If you follow a couple of very simple rules you will create an explosion of flavours in your mouth that will have your guests reaching for the bottle and demanding another glass.

And for those of you who enjoy Port wine so much that any day of the week is a good day to enjoy a glass of port wine, why not try a glass of tawny port with some devils on horseback or Welsh Rarebit – delicious.

Notes courtesy of Fonseca. Images: MyVanCity. I received complimentary product to facilitate this feature.

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