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Intense black inky core and narrow purple rim. The nose opens onto a dense brooding mass of dark blackberry and blackcurrant fruit. Compact and concentrated, it also displays exceptional purity - one of the hallmarks of the 2011 vintage. The nose gradually opens to reveal an array of heady herbal scents, discreet notes of exotic wood, marzipan and plum as well as an attractive graphite minerality. Solid well integrated tannins give both volume and firmness to the palate with its reserves of dense black fruit infused with dark chocolate and liquorice. A vigourous, concentrated fruit-driven Vintage Port, showing the classic opulence of Fonseca.
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.
A cold, wet winter started the year. From November-April, heavy rain in the heart of the Cima Corgo was critical to the the growing season; it replenished depleted ground water before a very dry summer. Buds appeared around March 19; April was wet and warm, which spurred growth and increased risk of diseases. In May, dry conditions prevailed, with no rain in most of the Douro Valley until August 21. Vines thrived, drawing on ground water reserves. Bunches developed in ideal conditions and véraison came a bit early, around June 15. June-July was dry but mild, except for heat spike end of July, ending the growing season. With warm weather and water, ripening was more advanced. Hot and dry conditions lasted through August; perfectly-timed rain on August 21 and September 1 helped optimal ripening. Wines have powerful aromas; remarkable depth of color, and promising structure for good evolution.
2011 Vintage Port Declaration: All of the major port houses have now declared the 2011 vintage as being of exceptional quality. For many shippers this is the first declaration since 2007. The avalanche of declarations started with Sogrape, owners of Sandeman and Ferriera. This has been followed by Symington, the company that owns Dows, Graham Warre and Cockburn and Taylor Fladgate owners of the Fonseca and Taylors brands