Although we rarely get the chance to enjoy Port in Queensland's balmy weather, this week we are positively thrilled to be able to offer you these two masterpieces at great pre-arrival prices. Perfect to cellar and forget about until a chilly winter night (or in the pool in the middle of summer, like some of us do!), yet approachable and utterly delicious now, these two wines are bound to please even the most fussy drinker.
2016 Fonseca - $169 per bottle
The 2016 Vintage Port is a field blend that was not quite bottled when seen (set for a week later), but it was the final blend. It was aged for 20 months in wood and comes in with 99 grams of residual sugar. This Fonseca is remarkably expressive, lifted and gloriously fresh. It has good concentration but some years have had more and seemed sexier. However, the most notable feature is the structure. It is very impressive in structure, that classic Port power and firmness coming to the fore and overshadowing the rest at the moment. This is very tight and very unevolved. Don't even think of buying it if you aren't prepared to cellar it. The 2030 start date that I have will not be even close to late enough if you want harmony and complexity. To me, this is the best of the three 2016s from the Fladgate Group this issue (Croft and Taylor being the other two), thanks to its pure intensity, but time will tell if it becomes as sexy as I'm sure Taylor's will be. In the meanwhile, Fonseca looks like one of the greats of this vintage. - 96-98 Points, Mark Squires, www.robertparker.com
The 2016 Fonseca Vintage Port began to be picked on 21 September at their Panascal vineyard, their Quinta do Cruzeira vineyard not picked until 6 October. It is deep, almost inky in colour. The bouquet is very intense with luscious black fruit laced with embers, clove and hints of bay leaf. There is wonderful purity here and a broodiness that suggests you'd better be patient. The palate is sweet and lively on the entry with some gorgeous ginger and curry leaf notes littered over the compact black fruit. There is wonderful density to this Fonseca. It is like a coiled spring with so much energy towards the finish that you just know this will be a long-term prospect. Superb. - 96 Points, Neal Martin, www.vinous.com
Lots of ripe fruit here with raisins and wet earth that turn to violets and hot stones. Full-bodied, tannic and powerful with fantastic grip and intensity. Grabs you. Impressive. Drink in 2025. - 98 Points James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com
2016 Taylors - $169 per bottle
The 2016 Vintage Port is a field blend set to be bottled about a week after this tasting. It was the final blend. It was aged for 20 months in wood and comes in with 102 grams of residual sugar. The Croft might be as rich—although I don't think so; we'll see as they age—but this is more expressive right now. The most delicious of the three Fladgate Group offerings, this has the sexiest fruit, although the Fonseca seems to have more pure power. Even allowing that it had a fair bit of air, this was showing surprisingly well for young Taylor's. That is speaking relatively, of course, because this still has power and energy. Personally, this year I'd definitely pick Fonseca, though. Fonseca just seems to have a little more upside potential. With Port, of course, things change over the decades. This is a first look, not a final word. - 94-96 Points, Mark Squires, www.robertparker.com
In 2016 Taylor's began picking in Vargellas on 17 September, followed by Pinhão Valley estate on 23 and 26 September. The 2016 Vintage Port has an aristocratic bouquet with tight wound aromas of blackberry, bilberry, crushed stone, black olive and a light, marine-tinged element, perhaps almost peat-like. The palate is just beautiful with fine, chiseled tannins and a perfect line of acidity. There is that almost "arching" structure one always seeks in a great Taylor’s with a gentle but insistent grip towards the finish. It is everything you really want from a Vintage Port. - 97 Points, Neal Martin, www.vinous.com
OMG. This is really the most amazing young Taylor's I have ever tasted. Full-bodied and lightly sweet with super power and intensity. So racy and focused. Yet this has such muscle and intensity. Needs at least eight years to show you everything it has to offer. Drink in 2025. - 100 Points, James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com
*wines due to arrive in store third week of October
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