The 2004 Jose Maria da Fonseca Moscatel de Setubal is not the usual wine you see on Cheapwinefinder. The Moscatel de Setubal is a fortified (meaning Brandy was added to the wine) dessert wine made from the Moscatel de Setubal grape which is a type of the Muscat grape (Muscat normally produces Moscato). Jose Maria da Fonseca is Portugal’s oldest winery, 1834, and they were the first to employ this style of wine and they are the only ones who produce it today. Setubal is in the Southwest corner of Portugal. One of their variations of Moscato de Setubal received 100 points from Parker. Muscat is a white wine grape, but the grape skin can be vary to very dark purple. The Moscatel de Setubal gets its color by leaving the grape skins in with the fermenting wine for 3 months. The fermentation is stopped by adding Brandy (a spirit made from the distillation of wine) into fermentation tanks. The wine is then aged in oak barrels, this is the 2004 vintage and this wine receives no bottle aging, so this Moscatel was aged in oak barrels for 6 or 7 years. The alcohol content is 17.3% and this is a 375 ml bottle (the usual size is 750 ml) and should sell for around $10.99.
The color is a cross of golden honey and apricots. The nose is sweet, but not in a sugary way, dark molasses, orange peel, prune juice, marzipan and the red and green fruit pieces in Christmas Fruitcake. This is a high alcohol, sweet wine, but flavors have a delicate touch. There is a slight cough syrup feel to this wine, it tastes of butterscotch and honey mixed with herbal tea. That is the main flavor profile, but there are different secondary flavors that make themselves known on every sip. The finish is very long.
The JM Fonseca Moscatel de Setubal is affordable luxury. This is one of the unique wines of the world made in the same way for 100 years. The 375 ml half bottle is more than enough, a little of the Moscatel de Setubal goes along way. This is a wine that Whisky affectionados will under stand, the mingling of the wine and the oak bring out nuance and character, while staying a very approachable wine.