Fonseca BIN 27 (reserva Ruby)
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 40 years ago. 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.
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.
MATTHEW JUKES - DAILY MAIL - 14TH MARCH 2015
"We should all drink more Port, as it's one of the world's most iconic wine styles, and Bin 27 is made by the swaggering talent that is Fonseca. Featuring sensational fruit-cake notes and great balance, it's a genuine crowd-pleaser."
SARAH AHMED - THEWINEDECTECTIVE.CO.UK - 20TH FEBRUARY 2015
"Spicier and more floral than the Waterloo Edition with nice purity and concentration of cocoa-dusted crushed berries and fruits of the forest. Lovely balance and persistence. Rightly a benchmark Finest Reserve."
JOSH GREENE - WINE & SPIRITS MAGAZINE - DEC 2017 - 90 POINTS
"A finely blended Port, this has a bristle of tannins up front, melding their chocolate richness with dried fruit flavors, ending clean and sweet. The wine's lasting spice places it with a savory pumpkin pie."