Fonseca Moscatel de Setubal (500 ml) 1962
Fonseca Port was founded in 1822 and grew rapidly in reputation and importance. Since its foundation, successive generations of the Guimaraens family have upheld the Company’s reputation. Today, Fonseca occupies a leading position as a specialist producer of quality wood ports and as one of the top vintage houses.
Fonseca may indeed be unique in the annals of Port in that every Fonseca vintage port in the last 100 years has been made by just four members of the Guimaraens family. The fourth member, David Guimaraens, continues the tradition having taken over from his father as winemaker in 1992. This remarkable continuity of winemaker is clearly evident in the wine. The company continues to foot tread every single grape grown in its three vineyards in granite stone troughs in the traditional way.
In his book, Vintage Port, James Suckling has written: "Fonseca is the King of Port. It produces the best Vintage Port in every declared year, with very few exceptions." Robert Parker summed up Fonseca's style as "The most exotic and most complex Port...With its lush, seductive character, one might call it the Pomerol of Vintage Ports."
Best known for intense, impressive and age-worthy fortified wines, Portugal relies almost exclusively on its many indigenous grape varieties. Bordering Spain to its north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean on its west and south coasts, this is a land where tradition reigns supreme, due to its relative geographical and, for much of the 20th century, political isolation. A long and narrow but small country, Portugal claims considerable diversity in climate and wine styles, with milder weather in the north and significantly more rainfall near the coast.
While Port (named after its city of Oporto on the Atlantic Coast at the end of the Douro Valley), made Portugal famous, Portugal is also an excellent source of dry red and white wines of various styles.
The Duoro Valley produces full-bodied and concentrated dry red wines made from the same set of grape varieties used for Port, which include Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão, among a long list of others in minor proportions.
Other dry wines include the tart, slightly effervescent Vinho Verde white wine, made in the north, and the bright, elegant reds and whites of the Dão as well as the bold, and fruit-driven reds and whites of the southern, Alentejo.
The nation’s other important fortified wine, Madeira, is produced on the eponymous island off the North African coast.
While Muscat comes in a wide range of styles from dry to sweet, still to sparkling and even fortified, it's safe to say it is always alluringly aromatic and delightful. The two most important versions are the noble, Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, making wines of considerable quality and Muscat of Alexandria, thought to be a progeny of the former. Somm Secret—Pliny the Elder wrote in the 13th century of a sweet, perfumed grape variety so attractive to bees that he referred to it as uva apiana, or “grape of the bees.” Most likely, he was describing Muscat.