2016 Fonseca Vintage Porto 375 ml

Year: 2016
Appellation: Oporto
Country: Portugal
Wine Spectator: 97
Wine Advocate: 96-98
Vinous Media: 96
James Suckling: 98
Wine Enthusiast: 97
Fortified Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 20.0%
Price :
$44.95

Only the fourth declared in this century, the 2016 Port vintage is “near perfection.”

"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. -J.M." (WS)

"The 2016 Vintage Port is a field blend that was not quite bottled when seen (set for a week later), but it was the final blend. It was aged for 20 months in wood and comes in with 99 grams of residual sugar. This Fonseca is remarkably expressive, lifted and gloriously fresh. It has good concentration but some years have had more and seemed sexier. However, the most notable feature is the structure. It is very impressive in structure, that classic Port power and firmness coming to the fore and overshadowing the rest at the moment. This is very tight and very unevolved. Don't even think of buying it if you aren't prepared to cellar it. The 2030 start date that I have will not be even close to late enough if you want harmony and complexity. To me, this is the best of the three 2016s from the Fladgate Group this issue (Croft and Taylor being the other two), thanks to its pure intensity, but time will tell if it becomes as sexy as I'm sure Taylor's will be. In the meanwhile, Fonseca looks like one of the greats of this vintage.

Winemaker David Guimaraens said that 2016, the first declaration since 2011, was a cooler year with purity of fruit and less power compared to the muscular and concentrated 2011s. That is pretty obvious on tasting them. They are enchanting for their freshness, though. In the meanwhile, if you're looking for muscle, Fonseca delivers all you could want. It is one of the more powerful 2016s." (WA)

"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." (VM)

"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." (JS)

"This bottling brings together a fine structure with great fruit to give a luscious wine that is also destined for long-term aging. With its ripe berry flavors sustained by some acidity, this is already balanced. Drink from 2028" (WE)

Winery Notes:
Tasting Note:
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.

Notes on the Viticultural Year:
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. This replenished ground water reserves 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.