I purchased a bottle of an older Fonseca, and when it arrived, I was surprised that the label looked typewritten. It was bottled in the UK by some firm (Whitwham & Co.). Are these alternative bottlings comparable to the winery-bottled versions?
In the early 1970’s and before, many VPs were shipped to the UK in cask and bottled by wine merchants. The quality of the wine would vary based on who bottled it, but the major players like Whitwham’s and BB&R have been every bit as reliable as the Gaia bottlings in my experience.
1970 was the last vintage allowed to be bottled by third parties. After this, only the estates themselves could bottle. Many of the British firms especially in the 50’s and 60’s were thought to be even better than the Oporto bottlings. Some of the Dutch firms were also well thought of. Whitwham has an excellent reputation. Would not worry in the least.
Thank you both for your responses and explanations.
As mentioned Whitwham & Co. was a bottler and bottled, and refreshed/recorked, a fair amount of Port back when Port was shipped abroad in casks, which is no longer allowed. Despite the replies, Whitwham does not have a very good reputation in Port circles. I would never buy any older Port bottled and, especially, recorked by them.
What year Fonseca is it? Does the label state it was recorked and/or refreshed? Most of their old typewritten labels were applied when they recorked something. Could you post a pic of the label?
Andy, good to see you posting here again.
The vintage was 1963. The label does not say anything about recorking or refreshing. I will try to post a picture, but it may well be beyond my technical capabilities.
Thanks. I’m tiptoeing back…
I’ve heard about you from Don Cornwell! Great to have you back on board.
Given the year, it most likely would not have been recorked and/or refreshed. That betters the odds…a tiny bit. You may want to think about having a backup bottle just in case this one doesn’t show so well.