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Fonseca 2016 (375ML)

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Critic Scores, Reviews & Descriptions

98 JS / 97 WA / 97 WS / 97 DE / 96 VM / 17.5+ JR 

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. - James Suckling

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.) - Mark Squires, Wine Advocate

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. Best from 2030 through 2055. - James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

Closed and withdrawn on the nose at this stage with an underlying dusting of ripe tannins evident. Firm, sweet cassis and berry fruit, with classic dark chocolate intensity at the core, backed by broad yet tight-knit peppery tannins which lead to a big, grippy finish. Very fine with a hugely promising future ahead. - Richard Mayson, Decanter

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. 

The main ingredient  is Quinta do Panascal on the steep slopes of the Távora Valley. The wines of Fonseca’s two quintas in the Pinhão Valley, Cruzeiro and Santo António, are also traditional components of what is usually a particularly opulent blend. 5,000 cases made. Dark crimson with a slightly chestnut hue. Very much a cloud rather than a rapier on the nose – hedonistic and ripe with masses of sweetness almost masking a rigorous corset of tannins. You really taste the heat here – but in a very ripe fruit way, not in a hot spirit way. 


2016 is a unanimously declared Port vintage, the last one being in 2011. The ‘16’s are said to be a combination of the best from 2007 and 2011. Our colleagues in the UK raved about the wines

The wines showed incredible concentration, but they also had amazing balance and finesse. They exhibited the best qualities from the 2007 and 2011 vintages, but their overall precision, expressive aromatics and refinement moved them into a different league in qualitative terms.

These are Ports to get very excited about and the appetite for them will far outstrip supply.These wines all represent incredible value for money, especially when you consider their rarity and potential longevity.

None of the major critics have published their tasting notes as yet, however we can assure you that these are the real deal! - Martin Lea, GVUK


"There's no formal regulation for Vintage Port declarations—any house can declare a Vintage Port in any year. But when essentially everyone declares, it's called a general declaration, with the obvious implication that the vintage is of particularly high quality. 

Any general declaration is worth checking out, as Port producers are known for a commitment to quality, averaging just two or three vintage declarations out every 10 harvests.

The 2016s are definitely going to make a splash. The growing season got off to a late start, following a very rainy spring that would pay dividends later in the season. As Portugal's Douro Valley entered into its typically hot and dry period in June and July, the vines had enough water reserves to help them along, with only a few areas suffering from hydric stress. Then, on Sept. 13, a light rain fell, giving the vineyards a freshening, and with the vintage running a week behind, growers could take advantage of ideal weather conditions into October, picking the later-ripening varieties such as Touriga Franca at optimum quality. Yields are markedly lower—lower than 2011 and 2007, so expect demand to be high, with prices slated to be about 10 to 20 percent higher than the 2011s.

Across the board, the 2016s are brimming with ripe, expressive fruit, inlaid with fresh acidity and backed by ripe and ample tannins." - James Molesworth, Wine Spectator


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 a 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. - Winery

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