Fonseca belongs in the first rank of Vintage Port houses. It is recognised for the stylistic consistency of its wines which have been made by five generations of the Guimaraens family since the firm’s foundation in 1815. Fonseca Vintage Ports are noted for their expressive, luscious fruitiness, which develops great opulence and complexity with age, as well as a voluptuous roundness on the palate supported by velvety mouth-filling tannins.
Fonseca Vintage Ports are often the preferred choice of the enthusiast and connoisseur, wines born of inspired and passionate winemaking and a thorough understanding of viticulture and terroir.
Fonseca Vintage Ports are produced from grapes grown on the firm’s own estates or ‘quintas’. The most famous of these is Quinta do Panascal, a historic property long recognised as the source of some of the finest wines in the Douro Valley.
The Fonseca 2011 blend is based on wines from Quinta do Panascal and Quinta do Cruzeiro. There is also a small amount of wine from Quinta de Santo António.
Commenting on the 2011s, Fonseca’s Managing Director Adrian Bridge noted: “The excellent ripening conditions leading up to the 2011 harvest have produced beautifully balanced, classic Vintage Ports and the Fonseca 2011 is no exception. It is showing the dense black fruit character which is typical of Fonseca Vintage Ports but there is also plenty of complexity and finesse.”
Winemaker David Guimaraens, remarked: “The ripening season was hot and dry but the vineyards had plentiful reserves of ground water built up during the previous winter. This meant that the vines were never stressed and produced a perfectly ripened crop, yielding wonderfully balanced and complete wines. The quality of the fruit in the Fonseca 2011 is exceptional as well as the beautifully integrated tannins which give the wine both volume and structure.”
The beginning of the year was marked by cold wet conditions. During the five months from November to April, almost 500 millimetres of rain fell at Pinhão in the heart of the Cima Corgo area. The winter and spring rainfall was critical as it replenished the depleted ground water reserves ahead of what was to be a very dry ripening season. The first buds appeared, as expected, around the third weekend in March and warm, wet conditions in April encouraged vigorous growth. From 1st May to 21st August warm and very dry conditions prevailed, with a short wave of very high temperatures in late June. However the abundant ground water allowed the formation of perfect bunches and balanced ripening of the grapes. Some well timed rainfall on 21st August and 1st September rounded off the maturation.
The first Fonseca property to start picking was Quinta do Panascal in the Távora Valley, where the first grapes were picked on 13th September. Quinta do Cruzeiro in the Pinhão Valley followed soon afterwards on 15th September. Picking began in the organic vineyards of Quinta do Santo António, Fonseca’s other Pinhão Valley estate, ten days later on 25th September. Wines on all properties were powerfully aromatic and showed remarkable depth of colour.