The house of Fonseca began trading in 1815 - and to celebrate the 200th anniversary, the firm has made a limited release of this Guimaraens 2015 Port. We feared before tasting that perhaps this had been done for the wrong reasons - purely to mark the date - but thankfully this is a super Single Quinta offering that is a very worthwhile release in its own right! A good deep chewiness to the beautifully stewed dark fruit is punctuated with lovely dollops of sweet, soft brown licorice. There's some cocoa powder too and then more of the lovely dry plummy fruit in the middle, a crushed sultana, paste-like feel. Intense and sweetly satisfying fruit that us deep, rich and joyous - with ripe form structure which should give this some potential to age well. L&S (May 2017)
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A blend of wines from three Fonseca estates: Quinta do Cruzeiro and Quinta do Santo António in the Pinhão Valley and Quinta do Panascal in the Távora valley. Guimaraens is the label that Fonseca use ‘in certain years when classic Fonseca vintage is not declared and are generally more supple and approachable when young’. This wine marks Fonseca’s bicentenary and seems to have been made for the middle to long haul. No information supplied on the varietal make-up. Closed and dense on the nose with underlying ripe fruit, still rather demure after a couple of days; immediately big and impressive in the mouth, ripe and fleshy with solid tannins to back up the fruit, leading to a peacock’s tail of a finish. The biggest and most structured of the 2015s that I have tasted so far: this will be a long-term keeper. I would broach this around 2030! Rating: 17.5 Richard Mayson, www.richardmayson.com (Sep 2017)
A bright, lacy Champagne, offering a tapestry of finely woven flavors: graphite and ground spice, crushed blackberry and dried apricot, toast and honeycomb. Firm and focused, with a lasting, chalky finish. Drink now through 2027 Drinking range: 2017 - 2027 Rating: 93 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator (Aug 2017)
It says Bicentenary on the label... Very dark crimson. Headily scented on top and very solid underneath. Very grown up and luscious with lots of sweet liquorice at the beginning but extremely dry on the end. Grainy and very chewy. Needs lots of time. Extremely vigorous. But no concessions to sweetness and softness. Drinking range: 2033 - 2055 Rating: 17.5 Jancis Robinson MW OBE - www.JancisRobinson.com (Aug 2017)
A firm and gutsy Fonseca with medium to full body, chewy and powerful tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Lots of blueberry, blackberry and mineral undertones. Even some slate. Long and powerful. Medium sweetness. Better in 2019. Rating: 93 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Jun 2017)
The fruit on the nose is sweet and ripe the palate has depth a rich mix of black fruits. There is mid generosity supple and smooth the chocolate richness well balanced by underlying freshness a complex mix of bilberry and cassis. Ripe fruit gives richness and power on the back palate yet there is enough freshness to give a stylish elegance on the finish. Drinking range: 2032 - 2048 Rating: 96 Derek Smedley MW, www.dereksmedleymw.co.uk (Jun 2017)
Each year a selection is made of the finest wines of the vintage. If, after two years in wood, those from a particular harvest are judged to be above average in quality, the best may be blended together and bottled as a Fonseca or a Guimaraens Vintage Port. Guimaraens Vintage Ports are made in certain years when a classic Fonseca Vintage is not declared and are generally more supple and approachable when young. An excellent choice for early drinking they nevertheless have the depth and stamina to mature in bottle. Guimaraens 2015 Vintage Port was blended from the best produce of Fonseca's flagship property, Quinta do Panascal, one of the most highly reputed Port vineyards, and the firm's two Pinhão Valley estates: Cruzeiro and Santo António. Cruzeiro estate has been supplying Fonseca since the 1870s and Santo António, another historic property, highly rated since the 1761 classification of port vineyards is also the site of award winning work in the field of sustainable viticulture. Winemaker's notes (Jun 2017)
Manuel Pedro Guimaraens bought out the Fonseca family's share of Fonseca & Monteiro in 1822, sold with the proviso that the Company would always bear the Fonseca name, and the Guimaraens family have controlled Fonseca ever since, even after absorbtion by Taylors, Fladgate & Yeatman in 1948. Not long after taking control of the Company, due to his support of the deposed King Pedro IV, Manuel was forced to flee Portugal (allegedly in an empty wine barrel) and settled in London, from where Fonseca was run until 1927 when the Guimaraens family returned to Portugal. David Guimaraens is the winemaker today, not only at Fonseca but Taylors too. In recent years especially, Fonseca and Taylors have elevated themselves clearly above their rivals for the sheer quality and prestige of their Vintage Ports.
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