David Guimaraens, the Winemaker: “The year 2003 contained all the elements that characterize a sublime vintage year, measuring a hot summer and perfect harvest conditions. All grape varieties are slowly matured in a balanced way, which is important for the further development of the wine. The Fonseca 2003 combines robustness with a rich complex of intense fruit intensity, so characteristic of the Fonseca Vintage.
Fonseca is the only port that 4 times 100 points scored in various (mostly) blind tastings (1927, 1948, 1977 and 1994). In the list of best wines ever, she takes, after Chateau Latour( 6 vintages) and Chateau d’Yquem(5) and Pétrus(5) a very nice third place. Fonseca Vintage Port is clearly the ‘Pétrus’ of Port.
The Fonseca Vintage Port 2003 has an opaque, black-colored cloak with dark purple rim and shows a nose of deep depth: the sweet black mass of dark fruit and spice aromas leads to a character of immense depth, richness and weight. Body, viscous and almost impenetrable, this dense port is powerful and exceptionally long on the finish. Perhaps the most masculine Fonseca I have ever encountered. The palate tastes licorice, jammy black fruit and notes of chocolate that last over a minute. This blockbuster will need at least three decades to fully blossom. Expected maturity: 2035-2060. ”
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
The Vintage Port 2003 comes 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’s drinkable now, even if it’s still getting more noticeable while in the glass. Make no mistake, it is nowhere near. This rather dry Fonseca is big and thick, but there is also a surprising concept of balance here. This very warm Vintage was not exactly shy. Concentration easily counted power, and it steadily gained better balance as it sat and aired. In terms of complexity, there is no question of that yet, if you allow the Gertrude Stein summary. In that sense at least, it is far too young and needs another decade. Winemaker David Guimaraens told me he thinks his grandchildren can enjoy it, so there’s no rush. Cellar this for another decade, at the very least, more than 20 years if you want them softer and more complex. This will still improve, but it has some more questions to answer in the basement. The price reflects the current availability.
Fine deep color with brick red rim. Good nose depth, sweet and harmonious, some spirit on the nose, rich, soft notes of dark chocolate and cherry (cherry tomato). Harmonious, elegant wine, a fine structure with exciting accents of spices and mint, very concentrated fruit, soft. A delicious Vintage Port now with good tannins to bring it to old age. Appears softer than usual. Close the nose. Big fruit, blackcurrant and blackberry, real intense jams with cocoa notes and firm but silky tannins. Powerful vintage port. Fine ripe fruit, good expression, cherry, a charming character.
Revista de Vinhos August 2005 – 19 points of 20
Fine and charming aroma, floral notes, elegant morello cherry fruit, dry brushwood, soft chemical nuances.On the palate it shows a rare blend of power and elegance, complex, with steel tannins covered in silk, all in harmony and extremely tuned with an extremely long finish. ”
Wine Enthousiast November 2005, number 3 of W.E top 100 wines of 2005
Fonseca Vintage Ports are always among the most attractive and are among the longest-lived 2003. This 2003 magnificently confirms that model: it is structured, but also so rich, powerful and opulent. There are cassis and black fig flavors, as well as sweet tannins. It is already delicious, and will remain delicious throughout its long life.
James Suckling 95-100 points
Wild aromas, with flowers, blackberries and passion fruit, full-bodied, massive in the mouth, medium sweet, the finish lasts for minutes. A mega young port. Fonseca. What do you expect?”
Reviews and awards:
97 points in Stephen Tanzer;
97 points in Wine Enthusiast Magazine;
96 points in Robert Parker;
96 points in Wine Spectator Magazine;
95 points in Jamie Goode;
95 points in Wine & Spirits Magazine;
94 points in CellarTracker;
19.5 points in Decanter Magazine;
18 points in Jancis Robinson;
19 points in Revista de Vinhos.