100 Years of Moscatel de Setúbal by José Maria da Fonseca
Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira
It’s in the Península de Setúbal that lies one of the oldest registered Portugal’s Designations of Origin (DOC) – the Moscatel de Setúbal region, whose demarcation was started in 1907 and was confirmed and completed in 1908. It is geographically bounded by the municipalities of Setúbal, Palmela, Montijo and the parish of Castelo, which belongs to the municipality of Sesimbra. The Moscatel de Setúbal is made from the grape that gives it the name, it’s part of the fantastic four’s Portuguese fortified wines, along with the Port wine, the Madeira wine and the Carcavelos wine. Its charms get lost in time and the role of the company José Maria da Fonseca is crucial since it is an active producer since 1834, with a unique heritage in the world of Muscat wines. Appreciated by kings and the people, this authentic treasure is, according Léon Douarche, “The Sun in the bottle.”. In the time of King Dinis I of Portugal (1261-1325) the Moscatel de Setúbal had fame already, being exported in large quantities to England or France where Louis XIV did not dispense it at the parties he threw at Versailles.
Finished the proper introductions, the house José Maria da Fonseca decided to release a limited edition box containing four dated wines, which in total add up to 100 years of Moscatel. A real temptation for all wine lovers who, this way, can taste and compare four wines of excellent quality and of so rare production. The Moscatel de Setúbal are placed on the market from 2 years of age, they may hold on its label the vintage year or the indications of “10 years old”, “20 years old”, “30 years old” or “more than 40 years old”, provided that the wine in question, or any batch of the blend that composes it, has at least the stated age. There is also the Superior designation which, not being this case, is only given to wines with a minimum of five years of age that have obtained the outstanding quality rating from the Tasters Chamber. In this case, what we have in the glass are four exemplars: 10 Years, 20 Years, 30 Years and Over 40 Years old.
Moscatel de Setúbal 10 Years: Endowed with a great freshness, a lot of fruit with candied orange standing out, light jam, flowers, dried fig with some dried fruits (nuts) already beginning to show. Ample and at the same time very well balanced, engaging with a beautiful complexity. Great balance between youth notes and the stuff that shows it is already a wine with more age.
Moscatel 20 Years: The jump in quality and also in the palette of aromas and flavors is remarkable. The whole bouquet is endowed with a beautiful intensity that makes it perfume the table and even the room, the orange notes show up more evolved pending to jam, with a treacle touch, a slight of vinagrinho that spikes it up and the greasiness of the dried fruit. The background we can feel the aroma of the centenarians hooves. In the mouth it’s a delight, intense, broad, conquers the palate by the razor-sharp freshness and its impressive way of being, a fantastic wine.
Moscatel 30 Years: A profile of great complexity that shows itself deep and at the same time intense and captivating. It becomes complicated not having the nose in the glass. Many confited citrus fruit notes (orange), caramel, nuts, slight vinagrinho, tobacco leaf, fig raisins. Breathtaking mouth but again endowed with a remarkable balance of power where the acidity seems to be dancing with the sweetness.
Moscatel 40 Years: It is the apogee of this tasting and a treat for the senses. A compendium wine, such is the undusted way with what it shows itself. If have you ever heard of what would a very old Moscatel be like, here is the example. The welcoming is given by the vinagrinho touch, just enough to spike the nose, then the expected unctuousness with aromas of honey and dried figs, candied orange with raisins (figs, dates) and a lot of freshness wrapping the whole. In the mouth, again the freshness, the old wood where it aged, spices, tobacco leaf, dried fruit and jelly, concentrated but not doughy at all and endowed with tremendous energy and harmony set. Unforgettable.
Quinta da Bassaqueira – Estrada Nacional 10
2925-542 Vila Nogueira de Azeitão. Setúbal, Portugal
Tel: (+351) 212 197 500