Wine Spectator | 96 WS
Tasted at the Vintners Company’s 650th anniversary celebration at Vintners Hall, the Fonseca 1970 was the finest bottle I have encountered. The bouquet opens beautifully with heady scents of clove, ginger, small red cherries, bergamot and allspice, displaying exquisite definition and harmony. The palate follows suit with lovely balance and poise in the mouth, notes of kirsch, shaved ginger and walnut building to an opulent, viscous finish that lacquers the mouth. Yet this bottle shows more control than the bottle tasted four years ago. The 1970 Fonseca is in a very nice place at the moment. You should join it. Tasted May 2013.
Robert Parker Neal Martin | 95 RP-NM
Wine Details for 1970 Fonseca
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: Port wines have always been different than other European wines due to their history with brandy, and today they're highly appreciated by wine enthusiasts on all the continents. Red Port wines are typically made of Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, and Touriga Nacional grape varietals. As for whites, most of them are based on Gouveio, Moscatel Galego, and Malvasia Fina varieties.
: Proprietary Blend is a general term used to indicate that a wine is comprised of multiple grape varietals which are either “proprietary” to the winery or is blended and does not meet the required maximum or minimum percentage of a particular varietal. This also is the case for the grape’s place of origin, especially for region, appellation or vineyard designated wines. There are endless examples of blended wines which are labeled as “Proprietary Blend” and in conjunction with each region’s stipulated wine laws and regulations makes for a vast blanket for wines to fall into. Perhaps the simplest example is California; if a wine is to be labeled as Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, it is required to have at least 75% of the varietal (Cabernet Sauvignon) and 85% of the fruit must be cultivated from the Napa Valley wine district. If the wine does not meet the requirements, it is then labeled as Proprietary Blend.
: Viticulture has existed on the Iberian Peninsula (home to modern day Spain and Portugal) for thousands of years, dating as far back as 2000 BC. The country of Portugal, with its 250 native grape varieties, has a long and colorful history of viticulture and is renowned for its production of the world-famous fortified wines of Port and Madeira. Beyond these rich and intriguing styles, the country has become diversified, and is now being recognized for its refreshing whites of Vinho Verde, sparkling wines from Obidos and the warm reds from Douro and Dao. In the past few decades, Portugal has enjoyed somewhat of a revival in terms of viticulture and is becoming increasingly popular for its many wine styles.
Portugal may not compare to neighboring Spain’s production rate, but in terms of quality, it can do more than hold a candle. Portugal’s production of Port is, without a doubt, its fame to claim and has brought global recognition; however Its recent renaissance and its incredible array of wine styles has helped to only bring more attention to the country’s wine industry. Its annual production of 600 million liters of wine from its 195,000 hectares under vine is an incredible feat for one of the smaller wine producing countries.
Many of the key grape varieties cultivated in Portugal are considered native. Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira, Baga and Tinta Roriz lead the way and are the most popular and important grapes grown. Portugal’s temperate, predominately maritime climate and portfolio of terroirs is greatly conducive to vinification. Its many mountains, river valleys and limestone-rich coastal hills allows for a rich and diverse range of soils. The Atlantic influences the growing season which sees high levels of rainfall allowing for high yields. This can also be a detriment and an increased risk of fungal diseases. Coastal region winegrowers has have worked diligently to cultivated ventilated sites as well as high trellising methods to keep the grapes from developing bunch rot.
The international wine market is becoming more cognizant of the many great wines coming from Portugal, from the reds of Douro and Dao to the red, white and rose from Vinho Verde, sparkling renditions from native varietals to the unprecedented and world-famous Port wines. International varieties (most of French origins) such as Syrah and Merlot have taken root in Portuguese soil. Despite the arrival of these varieties making a splash, and intrigue, Portugal’s long tradition of winemaking in the region has allowed winemakers to maintain a certain uniqueness in their wines. The Old Word nation of Portugal commands global respect and recognition for its many accomplishments and contributions to the world of wine.
: This beautifully varied region follows the river Douro across the entire land until it reaches the ocean. Alongside its rocky valleys, in steep, mountainous terrain, vineyards are positioned throughout the region. Highly varied in terroir, it's not uncommon that neighboring vineyards in Douro produce entirely different wines. Even on the same vineyards, those parts nearest to the river ripen more quickly, resulting in multiple harvests during the same season.
Douro is known mainly for its two specialties. The central subregion of Cima Corgo is home to the most luxurious vintage Port bottles. Fortified wines have been this region's most famous offering for the longest time. However, in recent years, Douro has emerged as a notable producer of some high-quality table reds as well. These wines are made from indigenous varieties, most famously Touriga Nacional, but also Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz (or Tempranillo) and Tinta Cao. If you come across a label mentioning Touriga Nacional, you should expect a savory, highly aromatic dry wine with an earthy, leather personality and some floral notes in the palate. This red is one of the most treasured gems of Portugal, held in high esteem around the globe, and should be savored as such.