Dow’s Vintage Ports are only produced in years of exceptional quality and represent only a very small part of the total company’s production in that year. On average only two or three times every ten years are the weather conditions sufficiently good to allow for the making of Dow’s Vintage Port. Dow’s Ports avoid an over-rich style and requires a very high degree of skill in wine making and great experience in selecting the finest wines of each year and each vineyard. These wines are aged in seasoned oak casks for some 18 months and are bottled without any filtration or fining whatsoever.
Wine maker notes
Dow Vintage Ports can be enjoyed when vibrant and young or they can be allowed to age for many years in bottle into a soft and delicate wine of velvet-like elegance.
Whilst the majority of Port is now made with modern methods using state-of-the-art vinification technology, a small proportion is still produced by the time-honoured method of treading. In either system, fermentations are relatively short (two to three days) because Port is a fortified wine. Fortification, which involves the addition of natural grape spirit to the fermenting juice, intentionally interrupts the fermentation process at a point when approximately half of the grapes’ natural sugar has been converted into alcohol. This accounts for Port’s characteristic rich, luscious style and also contributes to the wine’s considerable ageing potential. Given the short fermentation cycle it is crucial to extract as much flavour, colour and tannins as possible from the grape skins.
For over two centuries the name of DOW has been associated with the finest Port from the vineyards of the Upper Douro Valley. Throughout the 20th Century and into the 21st, the Symington family has built on the legacy of the preceding Silva and Dow families. Generations of Symington winemakers have worked at the Dow’s vineyards: Quinta do Bomfim and Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira, creating from them Dow’s superbly concentrated wines that are intense and tannic when young, maturing towards a superlative racy elegance with age and scented with violet and mint aromas. Dow’s attractive and distinctive drier finish is the recognisable hallmark of the wines from this great Port house.