2009 will be remembered as a year of low yields. This was partly due to the small amount of fruit and also to the effect of the very dry ripening season. Dormancy ended very early, with bud burst starting at Pinhão in the first week of March. The ripening season started with relatively cool weather which continued throughout July but in August this turned to intense heat. From July through to the harvest in September, there was almost no rain. These hot, arid conditions produced concentrated musts, rich in colour, tannins and sugar and by early September the grapes had reached phenolic maturity.
An early start to the harvest on the Fonseca estates ensured that the wines had a good acid balance and avoided over ripeness.