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96 pts Jamie Goode - Impenetrable black colour. A classic Fonseca nose dominated by an exuberant, hedonistic fruitiness, a powerful redolence of dark dense blackberry and blackcurrant which slowly releases a heady mix of spicy and herbal aromas, seductive notes of coffee and cocoa, hints of prune and wild scents of gumcistus. The thick velvety tannins give the wine a voluptuous density, integrating effortlessly with the sumptuous infusion of blackberry jam, dark chocolate and liquorice which coats the palate. The tannins are also present on the finish which brims with blackberry and blackcurrant flavour.
Fonseca has belonged to the first rank of Vintage Port producers since the mid-nineteenth century. Fonseca Vintage Ports are noted for their luscious fruitiness which develops great opulence and complexity with age. Wines born of inspired winemaking and a thorough understanding of viticulture and terroir, they appeal, perhaps more than any other house's Vintage Ports, to the enthusiast and connoisseur.
Vintage Ports represent the finest produce of a single exceptional year. Unlike Ports which age in wood, Vintage Ports will continue to age and improve in bottle for decades, their character bearing the imprint of both vineyard and wine maker.
A constant thread that runs through the history of Fonseca is the family's close involvement with the making of the firm's Vintage Ports. Throughout the 20th century, the making of Fonseca Vintage Ports was overseen by only four family members, Frank, Dorothy, Bruce and David Guimaraens and this has helped to make Fonseca one of the most stylistically consistent of Vintage Port producers.
The firm's Vintage Ports are drawn from its own quintas or estates: Cruzeiro and Santo António in the Pinhão Valley, which have contributed to the firm's Vintage Port blend for 100 years, as well the Távora Valley property of Panascal. Fonseca is unique among Port houses in making three different types of Vintage Port.
Fonseca Vintage Ports are released only when a year produces outstanding wines with long term ageing potential. These classic Vintage Ports are a blend of wines from Cruzeiro, Santo António and Panascal. Cruzeiro contributes concentrated black fruit flavours and firm tannic 'grip'. Panascal adds an opulent luscious fruitiness and a dense velvety texture. Finally, Santo António brings complexity and vibrancy with its fine scented character and fresh acidity.
Although they can be enjoyed when young, Fonseca Vintage Ports will continue to improve in bottle for many decades. They have the stamina and aromatic potential to last for over a hundred years. Attracting the highest scores and auction prices, they are favoured not only by fine wine enthusiasts but also by collectors and investors.
The 2009 viticultural year started early, with the first buds appearing within the first few days of March. Vegetative growth was healthy and vigorous but vine fertility was low, with all varieties producing only a small quantity of fruit. The coloring of the grapes (véraison) also started earlier than usual. Relatively cool conditions in July meant that ripening was initially slow, but this accelerated in August with the onset of very hot weather. Both July and August were extremely dry, with hardly any rainfall, and the arid conditions continued into September. The reduced yields, resulting from low vine productivity and the very dry summer, resulted in dense and concentrated musts with high levels of tannin, sugar and color.
Impenetrable black colour. A classic Fonseca nose dominated by an exuberant, hedonistic fruitiness, a powerful redolence of dark dense blackberry and blackcurrant which slowly releases a heady mix of spicy and herbal aromas, seductive notes of coffee and cocoa, hints of prune and wild scents of gumcistus. The thick velvety tannins give the wine a voluptuous density, integrating effortlessly with the sumptuous infusion of blackberry jam, dark chocolate and liquorice which coats the palate. The tannins are also present on the finish which brims with blackberry and blackcurrant flavour.