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The Uniqueness of Port - Example Dow

Port is emblematic of unforgettable sweet wine, but unique in its style

I recently tasted 10-year and 20-year old examples of tawny port from leading producer, Dow. They reminded me what a wonderful and individual a wine tawny port is, and how empathetic it is with blue cheese, nuts, or just quaffing on its own.


While most wines mark a single year coming from one vintage, Tawny Port enjoys a unique culture of winemaking that focuses on blending Ports from different years. Consider tasting time in a bottle with Dow’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port (SRP $45), Dow’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port (SRP $78) and Dow’s 30 Year Old Tawny Port (SRP $175) from Symington Family Estates, fifth generation Port producers from Porto, Portugal!

Aged for 10, 20 and 30 years in the Boa Vista Lodge on the banks of the Douro River, across from the city of Porto, the wine components that make up Dow’s Tawny Ports are aged in small oak barrels for long periods of time, resulting in striking tawny hues and rich flavors. Often served chilled in its native Portugal, this brings out the complexity and flavor in the wine.

The age on the label is the average age of all the wines used in the blend, offering winemakers flexibility that fosters a house style as they fine-tune with small quantities of younger or older wines. Dow’s hallmark drier house style is the result of using a larger blend of older wines which offer complexity, while the younger wines bring fresh fruit flavors and vibrancy. 

Dow’s Aged Tawnies strive to balance the proportion of wood character with original fruit. To achieve this style, the Dow’s tasters age a portion of their tawnies in the larger well seasoned oak balseiros, with capacities ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 litres. The result is that the Dow’s Aged Tawnies retain freshness and lose less intensity over the years as reflected in their concentrated colors.

Constant attention is needed as maturing barrels and vats of varied sizes show marked differences as they age. The master blender, cellar master and coopers all play their parts in nurturing the maturing wines until a beautifully balanced aged Tawny Port emerges. 

  • Deep russet with a distinctive garnet rim and a hint of amber, Dow's 10 Year Old Tawny Port offers bright flavors combined with an intense complexity as result of prolonged ageing in well seasoned oak. As a result, it is fuller bodied and darker, with rich hues of polished mahogany reflecting characteristics of both a young wine and Dow’s renowned Vintage Ports. Dow’s signature drier finish makes it the perfect pairing for honey-roasted figs and cheese boards.

  • With a saturated brown center and orange amber edges, Dow’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port exemplifies aged Tawny Port, an elegant balance of mellow fruit combined with the complex characteristics from extended wood-ageing. This delicious wine offers subtle butterscotch notes and concentrated red berry flavors and is the perfect accompaniment to nuts, dried fruits as well as vanilla ice cream and crème brûlée. 

  • Very few Ports can age for 30 long years and still show the complexity and flavors that can be found in Dow’s 30 Year Old Tawny Port. At any one time only six or seven casks in the ancient cellars of Dow’s in Vila Nova de Gaia are available to be bottled for this rare and fine Port, the remaining barrels of Port in cask are on the long and slow journey to reach this pinnacle of the Port taster’s art. This is a Port to be savored as a special occasion, truly a memorable experience.




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