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From the legendary 1840, Fonseca's first Vintage Port release, to the superb declared vintages of the last decade, the house has produced a succession of highly acclaimed wines even in the most adverse moments of history.
This consistency derives not only from continuity of family involvement, and the knowledge and skill passed down from one generation to the next, but also a close link with the vineyard. The firm's three estates of Cruzeiro, Panascal and Santo António are the heart of the distinctive character of Fonseca's Vintage Ports.
Fonseca's respect for the vineyard and the unique environment of the Douro Valley expresses itself in the firm's leadership in the field of sustainable and organic viticulture. It was the first house to offer a Port made entirely from organically produced grapes.
As it approaches its bicentenary, Fonseca can take pride in its past and look forward to the future with confidence. Wine drinkers increasingly seek wines of authenticity and character with a genuine story to tell and made by creative winemakers who understand their terroir and respect the environment.
Perhaps more than any other Port house, Fonseca has built a loyal community of Port enthusiasts who value its individuality and the inimitable character of its wines. These include connoisseurs, collectors, sommeliers and restaurateurs as well as those who simply enjoy drinking its wonderfully rich and complex Ports.
Lots of ripe fruit here with raisins and wet earth that turn to violets and hot stones. Full-bodied, tannic and powerful with fantastic grip and intensity. Grabs you. Impressive.
This leads in with bramble, spearmint and blueberry notes, with the energy extending through the core of dark plum, blackberry and fig fruit. The finish features a strong graphite spine, allowing this to draw deep water, but this remains stylish in feel overall. The definition of suave. Best from 2030 through 2055. 4,900 cases made.
The 2016 Vintage Port is a field blend sourced from the typical three Quintas (Panascal in the Tavora Valley and Quinta do Cruzeiro and Quinta de St Antonio in the Pinhão Valley). This was not quite bottled when first seen (set for a week later). It is now in the USA. It was aged for 20 months in wood and comes in with 99 grams of residual sugar. This dry and focused Fonseca was, in my initial July 2018 report, the pick of the Fladgate Group's litter in 2016. What has most changed in this issue is that Taylor's is showing a lot better while this has closed down a bit more. This is not seriously diminished, though. It is pretty brilliant. If you want that old-school power, it comes with Fonseca in this vintage. Taylor's may have the sexiest fruit of the three, but this seems to have the most muscle. It is true that the balance on the two just might be affecting that perception. Taylor's has a bit more mid-palate depth to soak up the power. Still, if Taylor's is flashier and richer in 2016, this seems even more serious. In the long lifespan of Ports, to be sure, it won't be unusual for them to keep flipping back and forth. Admittedly, this is also probably the hardest to read. Still, I couldn't help but think that this might have slightly more upside potential. Check in around 2060 or so to see if I'm right.
It is deep, almost inky in colour. The bouquet is very intense with luscious black fruit laced with embers, clove and hints of bay leaf. There is wonderful purity here and a broodiness that suggests you'd better be patient. The palate is sweet and lively on the entry with some gorgeous ginger and curry leaf notes littered over the compact black fruit. There is wonderful density to this Fonseca. It is like a coiled spring with so much energy towards the finish.