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The Guimaraens 2013 displays the opulent fruit character which defines the Fonseca house style. The nose opens with a surge of powerful woodland aroma, rich and succulent but not over-ripe. Hints of apricot emerge, followed by warmer notes of cedar, wood smoke and dark chocolate. Discreet floral and herbal scents contribute additional complexity. The palate abounds with rich dark berry flavors while dense, compact tannins provide impressive volume and weight. Deceptively velvety on the mid-palate, the tannins emerge with a firm, confident grip on the finish. An attractive choice for early drinking, the Guimaraens has the background and stamina to ensure a long life in bottle.
In certain years when there is no classic Fonseca Vintage Port, a Guimaraens Vintage Port may be made instead. When Guimaraens Vintage Ports were first released in the 1930's they were made in the same years as the classic Fonseca Vintage Ports but blended from slightly less powerful components, much like the second wines of the Bordeaux châteaux.Today Guimaraens Vintage Ports are made in years when the wines are more supple and early maturing and Fonseca in vintages producing bigger, more long lasting Ports.
Guimaraens Vintage Ports nevertheless share the origins, heritage and complex fruity style of the classic Fonseca vintages and are drawn from the produce of the same three estates. They differ only in that they are more approachable, ready to drink earlier and more accessibly priced.
The preceding winter was very wet, with rainfall at Pinhão 30% above the norm, replenishing water reserves depleted by the arid conditions of 2012. The growing season was very dry, sparing most vines from disease. The early growing season was also relatively cool leading to slow growth and a late vérasion around July 15th. July and August saw some very high temperatures which accelerated the cycle and encouraged ripening of the crop. July was the hottest month, with an average temperature of over 26° C (79° F), and during July and August 11 days exceeded 40° C (104° F). Some rainfall early in September helped to round off the ripening. Picking started at Quinta do Panascal on September 21st and in the two Pinhão Valley estates, Cruzeiro and Santo António, on the 23rd. Harvesting conditions were excellent until September 27th, and the best grapes were picked and under cover before that date.