The first lagar of Tinta Barroca was run off and fortified yesterday afternoon, spent about 24 hours in a tank, and now, as I type, the seven pipes of wine are being transferred into the wooden tonel where it will rest for the winter.
Each spring, when the previous harvest’s wines are moved to Gaia, the toneis are cleaned and left with a small amount of brandy and wine in the bottom, both to keep the tonel humid, so it does not dry out or warp, and to keep the wood sweet during the off-season.
Before we transfer the wine, however, we open the tonel, lean in, give the wooden face a good thump with the flat of the hand, and inhale. As you can see, Fonseca is inhaling quite deeply… the tonel smells very sweet and beautiful indeed, just as a fine old port should. Henry was was smiling very happily after he tested the tonel himself, remarking particularly on the notes of chocolate.