In the late 18th century someone had a great idea of ‘fortifying’ robust Portuguese red wines with brandy, thus preserving the ‘Port’ and making it rich and sweet. Classic Vintage Port is only made in exceptional years, spending two years in cask before being bottled, and then given further lengthy ageing before being released onto the market. A well-stored bottle can age and improve to be enjoyed years later.
A 1765 vintage port first appeared in a Christie’s wine catalogue in 1773, and since then Vintage Port has bridged generations, providing a living link to history — an old English tradition was to buy a case of Vintage Port to celebrate the birth of a child. To mark the 200th anniversary of Fonseca, one of the great Port lodges which was founded just a few weeks after the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, we present tasting notes on five Vintages Ports that will enhance any landmark occasion in life.
Wiese & Krohn 1958
Wiese & Krohn 1958. In original wooden, six-bottle cases. 12 bottles per lot. Estimate £1000-£1500. This lot and those below are offered in the Fine and Rare Wines featuring a Vintage Port Tribute to 200 years of Fonseca auction at Christie’s London on 22 October
Founded 150 years ago by two young Norwegians, Theodor Wiese and Dankert Krohn, the company’s 1958 vintage epitomises the get up and go creativity of an era that saw the birth of ‘Pop Art’ and the start of the space race. Aromas of cedar, saddle leather and wood smoke combine with an exotic myrrh-like pungency; the palate is voluptuous and seductive, with luscious plum pudding flavours which intensify and surge to a warm mellow finish. An intriguing, individual wine that’s full of subtle nuances, the Wiese & Krohn 1958 boldly goes where no other Vintage Ports have gone before.
Fonseca 1963. In original wooden, six-bottle cases. 12 bottles per lot. Estimate: £1,700-2,200
The release of the legendary 1840, the first Vintage Port sold under the Fonseca name, marked the start of a steady stream of magnificent vintages that continues to this day. Fonseca 1963 is a true child of the 60s — in total harmony on the bouquet, and with a hippy vibe overflowing with aromas of cured leather, warm marmalade, cinnamon and scented rosewood. Pungent, fat, rounded yet silky smooth, this is an example of a classic Fonseca opulence that has aged beautifully.
Croft 1977. In original wooden, six-magnum cases. 12 magnums per lot. Estimate: £800-1,200
The oldest and perhaps best-known Port house, Croft dates back to 1588 and has produced some legendary Vintage wines in its long and illustrious history. Croft 1977 emerged in the year of Elvis Presley’s death, Abba mania and the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in Great Britain. The 1977 is royally red with a seductive ripe, complex nose — rich jammy and figgy fruit and caramel, and exotic notes of spicy cedar wood. A superb fruit driven Port, the 1977 embodies the tradition of this historic Pinhão Valley estate.
Fonseca 1992. In original wooden, six-bottle cases. 12 bottles per lot. Estimate: £450-650
Born into uncertain economic times, Fonseca 1992 has blossomed into a big, voluptuous, full-bodied, layered, textural mouthful. With intense, dark chocolate flavours and raisiny scents, this is a vintage that’s ready to take on the world.
Taylor 2000. In original wooden, six-bottle case. 12 bottles per lot. Estimate: £400-600
Taylor’s vintages are recognized for their understated elegance, inner strength and vigour — making these long-lasting wines the ultimate collector’s Ports. Taylor 2000 is a millennial child — powerful, intense and balanced in perfect harmony with the world. Rich, elegant and with luscious black fruit flavours, its attractive scented qualities lead to a long and rich finish.
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