The layered, complex fruit typical of Fonseca holds sway over this weighty, powerful wine.
A narrow magenta ring around a core of inky purple black. The nose opens with a burst of dark, woodland fruit, dense and succulent, blended with fresher, more vibrant red berry aromas. A slatey minerality holds this exuberant fruitiness in check. At this stage, the nose is still reserved and discreetly aromatic, revealing leafy, balsamic scents and cedary notes of sawn wood. The first impression on the palate, as on the nose, is of tightly packed, dense dark berry fruit, which then explodes on the mid-palate and surges into the long finish. The texture is round and velvety but the taut, sinewy tannins and a strand of crisp acidity provide firmness and structure. The layered, complex fruit typical of Fonseca holds sway over this weighty, powerful wine.
Notes on the Viticultural Year
In spite of a cold and dry start to the year, the first buds appeared earlier than usual, around 10th March. Spring remained unusually dry throughout, with only about 7mm of rain falling in Pinhão in the usually wet month of April. These conditions accelerated vine growth, bringing on an early flowering at the beginning of May. The first three weeks of June saw very high temperatures and véraison started much earlier than usual around the 18th. Drought conditions continued until the end of September but temperatures eased somewhat in August, bringing relatively cool nights. Predictably, the crop reached maturity very early. Quinta do Panascal was the first Fonseca property to start picking on 6th September. The two Pinhão Valley estates, Cruzeiro and Santo António, followed on 10th and 17th respectively. These were the earliest picking dates in a generation. The thick-skinned grapes yield very dense musts, with impressive depth of colour. Although the volume of production was low overall, a high proportion of the wines made were of exceptional quality and their promise was apparent from an early stage.