José Maria da Fonseca

By Rui Falcão*

More than the house name, the name of Jos_Maria.jpegits founder, or the name of the two brothers that represent the fifth generation running this winemaking dynasty,José Maria da Fonseca is known by Periquita - the oldest bottled wine in Portugal, with a history of 160 years.

The association between both names is so common that sometimes it is easy to mix up José Maria da Fonseca with Periquita. In fact, the Periquita name is so well-known that it was sometimes mistaken for a grape variety.

The historic grape variety that gave life to Periquita – Castelão - was brought to the Pensínsula de Setúbal region by the founder of the José Mariada Fonseca house. The plants were grown in a property called Cova da Periquita, and so the wine earned its name from the land it came from… and the grape variety followed its footsteps.

Despite its rich heritage, José Maria da Fonseca is a modern company that does not turn its back on challenges. It has one of the world’s biggest ampelographic collections, with many hundreds of native and international grape varieties. Testament to this is the release of the José Maria da Fonseca white wine that contained an incredible record of 208 varietals and a red wine with 157.




* Rui Falcão is a renowned Portuguese wine journalist, author and wine educator.  He is also a judge at several international wine competitions.