Opened this up last week after weeks of trying to get hold of the Fonseca. Having read the notes from bman et al I think I may have been lucky not to find it. The Dow was on special off at £7 and was the only 1997 LBV that I didn't have in stock. Being used to the multi-layered Taylor's and the sweet and friendly Grahams's I was worried.

Opened and poured from the bottle (the decanter is waiting for the Warre's 1963 VP). Colour is dark but vibrant with no sign of sediment in the bottle. Aromas of rasins dominate with a caramel and fudge sweetness.

In the mouth it was hot! And I mean hot. Once the shock was over and the palate got used to the chilli effect the sweetness started to show through and tannins came in. The raisins were accompanied by other dried fruits - could have sworn I got dried papaya. The tannins accompanied a tabacco effect which was a bit like kissing a pretty smoker - the taste was there but the overall effect made it worthwhile. Finish hung around leaving a citrus after-taste.

Trying with chocolate caused total confusion as the bitterness took over - don't do this. With the sponge pudding with marsala, coffee and cream it was at it's best showing the sweetness and complementing the dessert. With Shropshire Blue cheese it helped the cheese to go down but they weren't really helping each other.

Overall, sweeter than Taylor's but even hotter. Drier and more tannic than Graham's. The details that you get from either of these are much more interesting than the Dow but not bad for a change.

I suppose, as it's TAA time, I have to give a rating so 85.

Tried

"Killer Bees, imagine having such a natural phenomenom"
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