Fonseca Vintage 2016
The weather pattern leading up to the 2016 harvest was relatively unusual. Rainfall in April and May was almost three times the 10-year average. These replenished groundwater reserves were reduced by the dry conditions the previous year but also resulted in significant fruit loss and reduction in yields in some areas as well as a late start to the maturation cycle. In contrast, July saw the onset of hot, dry conditions that lasted for the rest of the summer. Ripening was even, gradual and rounded off by a spell of rainfall towards the middle of September. Estates that delayed picking until after the rains were rewarded by perfect harvesting weather, the cool nights contributing to long, well-balanced fermentations and gentle extraction. Wine makers' notes record that the young wines displayed very fine aromas as well as pronounced tannins. This early promise has been fully realised, with the 2016 vintage ports showing elegance, finesse, crisp acidity and tannins of exceptional quality. Picking at Fonseca's Panascal estate began on 21st September and at Quinta do Cruzeiro in the Pinhão Valley on the 28th. Fonseca's third property, Quinta do Santo António, only started harvesting on 6th October.
Dense purple-black with a narrow purple rim. The nose opens with very fine pure black fruit, a fusion of black cherry, cassis and blackberry jam aromas, with notes of crushed mint, an ethereal fragrance of violets and undertones of ripe tropical fruit. The year has added an additional layer of purity and refinement to the subtle, complex Fonseca fruit character, as well as an attractive minerality. The palate is supported by vibrant acidity and taut, wiry tannins that provide structure but also texture and volume. The fresh berry flavours carry into the long finish. A finely crafted and perfectly balanced Vintage Port.
MAY 2018 – 98 POINTS
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. Drink in 2025.