During the January following each vintage, Fonseca sets aside a reserve of very concentrated, powerful vintage quality red ports, selected primarily from the firm’s own quintas and judged according to their ageing potential. These are placed in cask and cellared. Since wines from different vintages show variation in character, concentration and rate of maturation, tawny ports of age are blended across several vintages to maintain quality and continuity of style, and thus show an ‘apparent’, or average, age on the label rather than a vintage date. In the very old tawny ports of age, the actual age of each Port in the blend may vary as much as ten years, but in the younger tawnies variation is usually more on the order of five years or less.As tawny ports age, they grow lighter in colour, as they throw their deposit in the cask rather than in the bottle. The process of racking contributes to the oxidation process whereby the wine’s fruit qualities gradually diminish and nutty characteristics are acquired. Moreover, Fonseca cellars its aged tawnies in the Douro rather than in Vila Nova de Gaia; the considerable difference in heat and humidity between these two areas lends Fonseca’s tawny ports of age a very distinctive ‘baked’ richness reminiscent of butterscotch. Of an average cask age of ten years, this is a young port of russet 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 finish. Chill to just below cellar temperature (about 10 Deg C); any colder kills the aromas of this aged, complex port. In summer, serve at the end of the meal as a refreshing alternative. Also try as one of the few dessert wines to match chocolate. Blend of Grapes: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cao & Tinta Amarela.