In summer 2014 the Army Intelligence Corps celebrated the 100th anniversary of its foundation. A commemorative bottling of the Fonseca Guimaraens 1996 vintage ports was offered to serving and retired members of the Corps, the commemorative bottling being stencilled by Ballantynes of Walkerburn with the Corp Rose and Laurel insignia on one side and with the normal Fonseca Guimaraens logo on the reverse. In recognition that the offer was available only for a short time each bottle was individually numbered. This was bottle 209.
Problems started when the bottle was prepared for opening. While the bottle was clearly stencilled on both sides to identify it as the Fonseca Guimaraens 1996, the zinc foil capsule was embossed with "1998". When the cork was drawn, the cork was branded "Guimaraens 1998 Porto". In confusion I turned to the IVDP website and looked up the number on the sello - this confirmed that despite the labelling of the bottle, this was indeed the 1998 Fonseca Guimaraens.
Deep red, appearing to be in early maturity - the colour of black cherry juice; 95% opaque at the centre. A nice gentle nose of sweet cherry fruit and an edge of charcoal ash, pleasant and attractive. On the palate this has poise and balance. There is generous sweet cherry fruit but also gentle bitter green tannins that grow on the late palate and add a pleasant peppery bite. Not overly complex, this is an attractive palate that reveals some floral tones when mised with air. The aftertaste is delicious, big and complex with fruit, dark chocolate and wonderful hyacinth perfume. The finish is long and full of slightly chewy fruit, like black fruit gums. Modest and gentle, this is fine port that is drinking very nicely for something not yet past the age of 21. 89/100. Opened 30-Jan-16. Decanted 24 hours.
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