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2016 Fonseca Vintage Port
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- Cellar 15 - 20 years (2034-2039)
- ABV 20.5%
- Closure: Cork
Impenetrable glass staining pitch black colour with a youthful looking deep dark red black hue. The nose sings a glorious tune of ripe Morello cherries, marzipan and liquorice with ripe blackberry, vanilla, fine brandy spirit and spicy raisins the back drop. The palate is slightly heavier and possesses a shade more intensity and opulence than the Taylors with rich, voluminous fruit flooding the mouth in decadent fashion. Cascading waves of liquorice allsorts, blackberries, black and Morello cherries sit over vanillin confectionary, marzipan like characters and spicy raisins. Spectacular power and concentration with very structured, firm, chewy tannins. Superb integration of spirit and a finish that never seems to end.
Cellar 15-20 years plus.
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. (Send me an email if you don't think so. I want to hear from you.)
On this second look, this Fonseca is still remarkably expressive, lifted and gloriously fresh, even with that slight closing. It has reasonable mid-palate concentration but even better intensity of flavor. Despite that intensity of flavor, it is not quite as sexy as it is in some years, at least not yet, as the tannins are firmly in charge. That isn't changing anytime soon. This rather stern Fonseca simply revels in its brilliant structure. This is a Port that demands cellaring if you want it to be all it can be. You and it will profit from at least 10 more years of cellaring. Doubling that will help a lot more.
Mark Squires - Wine Advocate #240 (Dec 2018)
The 2016 Fonseca Vintage Port began to be picked on 21 September at their Panascal vineyard, their Quinta do Cruzeira vineyard not picked until 6 October. 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 that you just know this will be a long-term prospect. Superb. Production is 4,900 cases.
Neal Martin - Vinous
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.
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.
James Molesworth - Wine Spectator