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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Fonseca Vintage Port 2003

Port from Portugal
  • WE97
  • RP94
    20.5% ABV
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      20.5% ABV

      Winemaker Notes

      The 1994 vintage of this wine was ranked #1 on the Wine Spectator's Top 10 Wines of 1997

      Fonseca vintage ports are renowned for their great fruit richness and voluptuousness, and, while powerful and mouthfilling, for their breed and balance. In the context of each vintage, they combine the tannic dimension and "grip" which give great port its longevity with the structure and complexity that are Fonseca's hallmark. Among the Douro's first growths, Fonseca Vintage Port is clearly the "Pétrus" of Port.

      "Sporting an opaque, black-colored robe with dark purple trim, the 2003 Fonseca Vintage Port exhibits a nose of profound depth. Its sweet black mass of dark fruit and spice aromas leads to a character of immense depth, richness, and weight. Full-bodied, viscous, and almost impenetrable, this dense, backward port is powerful and exceptionally long in the finish. Possibly the most masculine Fonseca I've ever encountered, it coats the taster's palate with licorice, jammy black fruits, and notes of chocolate that last for over a minute. This blockbuster will require at least three decades to fully blossom. Anticipated maturity: 2035-2060."
      -Wine Advocate

      "Wild aromas, with flowers, blackberries and passion fruit. Full-bodied, massive on the palate. Medium-sweet. The finish goes on for minutes. A mega young Port. Fonseca. What do you expect? Score range: 95-100"
      -Wine Spectator Barrel Sample

      Critical Acclaim

      All Vintages
      WE 97
      Wine Enthusiast
      RP 94
      Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
      The 2003 Vintage Port comes in with 92 grams per liter of residual sugar. This is a big boy in terms of voluptuous fruit, but (at least as double decanted overnight), it is drinkable now, even if it still tightens noticeably as it sits in the glass. Make no mistake, though—it is nowhere near peak. This rather dry Fonseca is big and fat, yet there is also some concept of balance here, surprisingly. This very warm vintage wasn't exactly shy. The concentration easily counters the power, and it steadily acquired better balance as it sat and aired. In terms of complexity, there's no there there yet, if you'll allow the Gertrude Stein summary. In that sense, at least, it is far too young and needs another decade. Winemaker David Guimaraens told me that he thinks his grandchildren will be able to enjoy it, so there is no rush. Cellar this for another decade, at the least, more like 20 years if you like them softer and more complex. This will still improve, but it has some more questions to answer in the cellar. The price reflects current availability. Korbrand, the importer, indicated limited stocks are available in the USA as well as Portugal. There may be an official re-release as well.
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      Fonseca

      Fonseca

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      Fonseca, Portugal
      Image of winery

      Fonseca Port was founded in 1822 and grew rapidly in reputation and importance. Since its foundation, successive generations of the Guimaraens family have upheld the Company’s reputation. Today, Fonseca occupies a leading position as a specialist producer of quality wood ports and as one of the top vintage houses.

      Fonseca may indeed be unique in the annals of Port in that every Fonseca vintage port in the last 100 years has been made by just four members of the Guimaraens family. The fourth member, David Guimaraens, continues the tradition having taken over from his father as winemaker in 1992. This remarkable continuity of winemaker is clearly evident in the wine. The company continues to foot tread every single grape grown in its three vineyards in granite stone troughs in the traditional way.

      In his book, Vintage Port, James Suckling has written: "Fonseca is the King of Port. It produces the best Vintage Port in every declared year, with very few exceptions." Robert Parker summed up Fonseca's style as "The most exotic and most complex Port...With its lush, seductive character, one might call it the Pomerol of Vintage Ports."

      Portugal

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      Best known for flavorful fortified wines but also producing excellent dry wines, Portugal is unique in that it relies almost exclusively on its many indigenous grape varieties. Bordering Spain to the west on the Iberian Peninsula, this is a land where tradition reigns supreme, perhaps due in part to its relative geographical and, for much of the 20th century, political isolation. Portugal is a long and narrow country, which makes for considerable diversity in climate and wine styles, with milder weather in the north and significantly more rainfall near the coast. With the exception of Port, most Portuguese wines have struggled to garner attention in the international marketplace, perhaps due to the unfamiliar and difficult to pronounce nature of most of its grape varieties and terminology, which means that there are many excellent values to be discovered here by the adventurous consumer. The country is perhaps better known for being the world’s leader in cork production than for its wine.

      Port, made in the Douro Valley, is the fortified wine for which Portugal is most famous. The same region also produces full-bodied dry wines made from the same set of grape varieties, which include Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo). The nation’s other important fortified wine, Madeira, is produced on the eponymous island off the North African coast. Other dry wines of the mainland include the tart, slightly effervescent Vinho Verde of the north, the bright, elegant reds and whites of the Dão, and the bold, jammy reds of the Alentejo.

      Blended from the most important red grapes of the Duoro Valley, Port is the famous fortified wine from Portugal. It is based on the Touriga Nacional grape with over 80 other varieties approved for use in the blend. However, typically about four other varieties play a major role: Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) and Touriga Francesa. Other wine regions of the world can produce fortified wine of a similar style from the same grapes or other grapes.

      There are numerous styles of Port: Ruby, Tawny, Vintage, LBV, White, Colheita, and a few unusual others.

      Ruby ports usually pack the most value and are ready to drink once bottled. Typical characteristics are ripe cherry and blackberry flavors with stewed plums, cocoa and dates.

      Tawny ports are “tawny” in color and have flavors of toffee, caramel, toasted pecans, vanilla, dried apricot, citrus peel, green figs and roasted espresso. The age designation on a Tawny Port indicates the average vintage age of the grapes in the bottle.

      When Port is made with high quality grapes selected from a single notable vintage, it is called Vintage Port. Some of the best recent vintages are 2011, 2009, 2007, 2003, 2000, 1997 and 1994. Vintage Ports are complex and full-bodied with many flavors possible: concentrated blackberry, black cherry, raspberry and spice, smoke, coffee and chocolate.

      LBV Port comes from a single-vintage Ruby Port and may spend six years in the barrel before being bottled. These are ready to drink upon release. Serve most Ports slightly chilled at around 55-65°F.

      GSMFONSECA_2003 Item# 85294