According to tradition, the great Fonseca estate announced in April 2018 the release of its Porto Vintage 2016, another exceptional vintage
Marked by climatic conditions that were quite unusual for the Duriense region of northwest Portugal, 2016 saw a late harvest with lower than usual yields. Very heavy rainfall in the spring meant a late start to the ripening process, which then proceeded steadily up to the date of harvest. Cool nights during the harvest period allowed for excellent aromatic potential and balance in the grapes, which were then also preserved through a very gentle extraction.
When tasted, the Fonseca Vintage Port 2016 reveals a dense, intense purple colour with a purple rim. Characterised by a brilliant purity and finesse, the bouquet opens with black fruit notes (cherry, blackberry jam) and delicious tropical fruit. Fragrances of mint and violet then appear when the wine is aerated. On the palate, the Vintage Port 2016 is bright and lively, enhanced by a beautiful acidity. The tannic structure lends plenty of body and volume to the palate. A wine of great length and persistence, the finish brings freshness and notes of blackberries.
A magnificent Vintage Port with an attractive minerality, perfectly balanced and representative of it vintage, displaying the fruity finesse that is the signature style of the Fonseca estate.
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.)