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Bonhams to sell pipe of ’63 Port

Bonhams’ first sale of the 2016 season will feature several hundred bottles of one of the “truly great” vintage Ports of the 20th century – the 1963.

Widely considered one of the finest Port vintages ever produced, the rare pipe of Fonseca 1963 – of just over 400 bottles – will be sold at the house’s next London sale on 18 February 2016 for £1,400 – £1,600 per dozen.

Until the mid 1970s Port – and many other wines – were shipped to merchants in barrel and then bottled by them. Each pipe of Port (as the barrels were known) would produce around 700 bottles.

It was customary in the Victorian period for a gentleman to lay down a pipe for his children and/or godchildren and the custom continued until regulations required wines to be bottled in their country of origin.

The pipe being offered by Bonhams was shipped to the UK in 1966, bought for the princely sum of £252 and then bottled and kept in a private cellar.

Bonhams is offering 468 bottles from that original pipe in 12-bottle lots at the aforementioned price.

David Fonseca Guimaraens of Fonseca has said: “The Fonseca 1963 is my reference vintage Port, made by my father Bruce. If any of the vintage Ports that I make during my career are as spectacular as this 1963 after 50 years, then I will feel satisfied with what I have achieved.”

Bonhams’ director of Wine, Richard Harvey MW, added: “It’s very unusual to find a pipe of Port almost untouched. The fact that it is Fonseca 1963, one of the truly great ports of the 20th century, is even more astonishing and will excite the interest of Port lovers everywhere.”

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