WINE REVIEW: Dow’s 2015 Late Bottled Vintage Porto, Portugal ($23)
by Andrew Chalk
With so many styles of port, or Porto to use its protected name when referring to wines from Oporto in northern Portugal, it is no wonder that consumers are unclear what to expect on the inside of the bottle from what is on the outside.
This Dow’s port is in the style of a Late Bottled Vintage. That means:
It is all from one vintage, rather than being a blend;
It has been aged in oak barrels for between four and six years before being transferred to bottle;
It is ready to drink, but will age further if you wish (i.e. no hurry);
If is ‘ruby’ in color, i.e. not ‘tawny’ in color;
This wine follows all the above strictures. Unfortunately, some other producers do not. Roger Voss does a good job of sorting that out here. As he says ‘LBV, it seems, is a mess’.
Luckily, Dow’s is complying. It is delicious now, but can be kept, likely for a decade. Also, its high alcohol (19.5%) means that it can be kept in the fridge for weeks after opening. Serve with hard cheeses (stilton is the classic pairing, and Scardello is the best source of it in Dallas) in a course just before dessert. Serve in small glasses and savor over good conversation. Dow’s is one of the top houses in Oporto and this wine just shouts out why.
Appearance: Totally opaque ruby with purple rim;
Nose: Complex assembly of fig, caramel, licorice,blackberry, cocoa and roses;
Palate: Thick molasses, bountiful acid, firm tannins give structure. Blackberry fruit, cocoa, fig. Not cloying. Winemaker’s notes express it well: “Dow’s trademark drier edge”.