Dow's Vintage Port 2016
This packs a lot of fun, with a wallop of blackberry, fig, boysenberry and açai berry compote flavors working together, laced with a mouthwatering licorice snap note and driven by a fresh, well-detailed finish. A roasted apple wood accent is integrated as well, lending textural contrast through the vivacious finish. Best from 2030 through 2055.
The 2016 Dow's Vintage Port is based around the Vinha dos Ecos vineyard behind Bomfim, populated predominantly by mature Touriga Franca vines that were cropped at just 0.68kg per vine. It has a quite astonishing bouquet with layer upon layer of intense black cherry and cassis fruit, touches of clove, leather and a hint of over-ripe Satsuma. This is a mercurial bouquet that keeps changing in the glass, revealing smoky/burning ember scents with time. The palate is quite magnificent - perfectly balanced with a killer thread of acidity slicing through such pure intense black fruit that there is no heaviness at all. There is a sense of thrust on the finish as it fans out with almost careless abandon, a Vintage Port so self-assured that you can only sit back in amazement. Simply one of the best Dow's ever made.
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.
Very floral, intense and ripe, this is a wine that is based around big black fruits as well as fine acidity. It is obviously destined for long aging with its powerful dry tannins and perfumed acidity. Drink this wine from 2028.
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.
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.