Though a part of the Symington empire, as Silva & Cosens, the Dow port brand has a very distinct profile. There is a weight and dimension to the top years that, combined with an elegance and poise, puts them among the best, as recently seen in 1994, 97, 2000, 03 and 07. The latter is structured, expansive and classically Dow’s. Vintages that can be drunk now include 1985, 83, 80, 77, 70, 66, 63, 55 and 45. Even older vintages can still have some life, as does a fully-mature 1960 – although the 77 is now showing some variability. It is quite a structured port but its fine tannins are covered in layers of ripe fruit. In lesser years the wine can appear more muscular and occasionally a hint of spirit can also show through. However, Quinta do Bomfim, from slopes close to Pinhão in the heart of the Douro, was until recently the most important quinta in the region and some fine ports have been made under this name in non-declared years including 2001, 1999, 98, 95, 92, 90, 87, 86 and 84. Dow also includes the exciting Quinta Senhora da Ribeira, which lies across the Douro from Quinta da Vesúvio in the Douro Superior. Once owned by Silva & Cosens and still part of its grape resources during recent years, its acquisition by the Symingtons in 1998 resulted in excellent single-quinta ports in 98, 99 and 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008 made at the quinta now with state-of-the-art automated systems. Winemaking facilities have also been boosted by the high-tech Quinta do Sol, where many of the ports are made. Crusted Port shows something of the Dow (elegant, drier) style at a moderate price and Late Bottled Vintage, though of the filtered type, can have good fruit richness and some depth. Tawnies tend to be quite vigorous but with good complexity at the 20-and 30-year level, while Trademark is an acceptable Vintage Character port.
To find out more about Dow and their wines, and to see how we reviewed and rated their wines you can check out the Wine Guide Portugal..
Or indeed you can check out the new extensively updated 9th edition Wine Behind the Label Wine Guide that is 2250 pages, it reviews around 4000 vineyards and over 30,000 wines.