The Oeno File: 1992 Fonseca Port

August 5th, 2011

By Chris Gill

Over the last 20 years Fonseca has declared only six vintages for its classic vintage Port—2007, 2003, 2000, 1997, 1994, and 1992. As for which is the best of those six vintages it’s a toss up between 1992 and 1994. Outrageously dense and huge, the ’94 is a mammoth Godzilla of a vintage Port with flavors so concentrated and amplified it pretty much destroys anything in its path that came before it. More of a classic Fonseca vintage Port, the ’92 is still concentrated but not overpowering, full-bodied but not heavy, and seductively smooth and rich with elegant structure. Those factors make the ’92 my preference of the two, as to me it’s a Port that embraces the taste buds instead of flamboyantly assaulting them.

Still just shy of 20 years old, the ’92 Fonseca Port is just starting to mature and shed some of its youthful freshness and fruitiness, allowing deeper flavors of sweet tobacco, dark chocolate, caramel, and black cherry to come to the forefront. While the ’94 is still somewhat alcoholic and hot, the ’92 has become enticingly supple with the alcohol only emerging during the finish, along with hints of menthol and anise. This Port will only get better over the next 10 or 20 years, but is currently so enjoyable that it’s not a crime to submit to your instant gratification impulses and open a bottle now.

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  • This colossal vintage port reveals a nearly opaque black/purple color, and an explosive nose of jammy black fruits, licorice, chocolate, and spices.