Vintage port is one of the longest-lived wines in the world, ageing consistently throughout their lives. The combination of this everlasting style with one of the oldest consistently operating producers provides us with an experience not easily forgotten. Declared vintages are few and far in between with only two to three vintages being adequate to be used exclusively for a vintage port. These rarities are
Dow's Vintage Ports are drawn from the companies' finest vineyards; Quinta do Bomfim and Quinta de Senhora da Ribeira. Each property contributes to the Dow’s unique and distinctive style. When young, Dow’s Vintage Ports are purple-black, austere, complex and intensely concentrated, full-bodied and balanced with very fine peppery tannins.
Over the centuries, the Dow winemakers have evolved a style that suits the house’s key vineyards; fermentations are a little longer, resulting in a drier Port Wine that has become the hallmark of Dow’s. The very high percentage of Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional planted on the vineyards result in the powerful structure and aging potential of Dow’s Vintage Ports
Ageing: 18 Months in used barrels.
Tasting Notes: 48% Tinta Franca, 31% Touriga Nacional, 11% Sousão, 10% Mixed Native Varieties. Very Dow in its intensity, taut and lean with the vigor of a young thoroughbred. Typical Dow’s deep, brooding aromas of black plum and Douro schist with lavender and violet notes. Profound and substantial on the palate. A beautifully toned wine of impressive structure.
Based on Touriga Franca with Touriga Nacional and Sousão. Tight-knit, with firm, rapier-like tannins on the palate – a ramrod all the way through with the opulence and flesh of the fruit on the finish. Fine-grained with great purity and expression. Leaner and much more restrained in style than others: the drier style of Dow works really well in ripe years such as 2016 (as it did in 2011). Outstanding wine for the long term. ~98 Decanter
Aromas of blueberries, blackberries and dried flowers plus hints of slate follow through to a full body, very fine tannins and a driven and linear finish. Orange peel and dried fruit. Sleek and racy. Ready to try in 2024. ~96 James Suckling
The 2016 Vintage Port, bottled in May for release in October 2018, is mostly a 48/31 blend of Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional, with various other grapes and some very old vines for the rest. It comes in with 111 grams of residual sugar. This is a very elegant Dow's, but there is certainly both power and concentration lurking underneath. Adding fine fruit, it is expressive and sophisticated, a very refined offering that seems not quite as burly as in some years. It is still exceptionally appealing, but it was curiously understated when seen. Some bottle shock, perhaps? The fresh 2016 Vintage? This is an illustration of Charles Symington's philosophy, as relayed to me, that the "wines should be in harmony from the first day." I don't think this will be a great Dow's, but it is an enjoyable one. If it wakes up, it might be entitled to an uptick. For the moment, between the top blends in the Symington stable, I'd lean to Graham's as the best in this vintage. Both are easily outclassed by the single-plot wines. There were 5,480 cases produced. ~ 93 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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