Picking began at Quinta do Panascal on September 6, the two other quintas in Pinhão that form the 2017 Fonseca Vintage Port, Cruzeiro and Santo António picked on 10 and 17 September respectively. One of the deepest, most opaque color amongst the new Port alumni, it has one of the most backward, almost recalcitrant noses that demands a lot of aeration. It gradually opens to reveal blackberry, melted tar, thyme, clove and violet aromas that are well defined, if maybe just missing the same breeding as Taylor’s. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin. This is fresh and detailed, a slightly more structured Fonseca than expected, quite strict at first with good grip and a lightly spiced, precise finish. Powerful and long on the aftertaste, you can feel this Fonseca 60 seconds after the wine has exited. It deserves 10-15 years in bottle. Excellent, but patience required. The most enigmatic of the 2017 Vintage Ports. Total production is 8,100 cases.
Anticipated maturity: 2033-2080
Robert Parker 97
The 2017 Vintage Port, not quite bottled when seen but the final blend, is a field blend (with typical grapes like Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesca, Tinto CÃ£o, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca) aged for approximately 20 months in used French oak. It comes in with 98 grams of residual sugar, a little drier on paper than its Taylor sibling this year. Sappy and sensational in flavor and fruit, this seemingly has moderate tannins around the edges on first taste, velvety texture and a long finish. Despite the first impression of moderation, there is plenty of power here. As it got some aeration, it showed nothing but power and closed down fairly hard. The combination of great fruit and fine structure makes this a potentially great Fonseca, but right now it is obviously immature and not showing everything it has. I’d recommend some patience here.
Anticipated maturity: 2030-2075
Quinta do Panascal was the first Fonseca property to start picking on 6 September. The two PinhÃ£o Valley estates, Cruzeiro and Santo AntÃ³nio, followed on 10 and 17 September ” the earliest picking dates in a generation. Touriga Nacional , Touriga Francesa , Tinto CÃ£o , Tinta Roriz , Tinta Barroca. TA 4.1 g/l, pH 3.9, RS 98 g/l. 8,100 bottles. Deepest purple. Wild, perfectly ripe small black berries like elderberry but also the lush sweetness of ripe blackberries plus a stony, rocky edge and just a touch charry. Lush, plush and exotic on the palate, deep-pile, compact, smooth tannins, just enough freshness to balance the rich generosity. The finish is beautifully dry-tasting, the tannins melting on the long finish. (JH)
Anticipated maturity: 2027-2057