5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Blake Brown
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5292
Joined: May 2nd, 2010, 11:17 pm
Location: Santa Barbara

5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#1 Post by Blake Brown » December 5th, 2018, 9:59 am

I attended a recent celebration of the 25th anniversary of an extra special occasion called Port on the Porch put on by the one who initiated it. It`s basically good Vintage Port and cigars with some appropriate appetisers and good friends.

On this night we had 8 and our passionate host set it up for us to convene on his outside balcony, which from a distance high up in the foothills, overlooks Santa Barbara, the ocean and Channel Islands. At this later hour of the evening {8:30 on}. our view was replete with the Christmas tree like sparkling lights throughout the city and local harbor.

It was apparent that much thought and energy was put into making this the consummate experience it was. The wines were pre-opened and set up with a pressure system for spigot type pours. The requisite appetisers of toasted walnuts and oiled almonds, blue cheeses, fruit, crackers and bread paired perfectly with the wines. And our host read from notes taken from some of the early porch events and listed some of the attendees, all dear friends.

To quote the title of David White`s fine book, “But First champagne”:

2012 LOUIS ROEDERER BRUT ROSE- 63% Pinot Noir, 37% Chardonnay; highly recommended by a trustworthy friend, I purchased a 6 pack of this recent release, but due to warm weather issues, shipment was delayed until just a few weeks ago; so this was the 2nd bottle; this bottle was truly laden with rich fresh ripe red fruit which had some pronounced sweetness that I presume in time will balance out; no doubt, it was deliciously fruity; I got ginger and white pepper accents to the strawberry, red cherry and white peach notes; this wine had been bottle aged for 4 years then allowed to rest for a further 6 months after disgorging at a 9 gpl dosage.

Now for the Ports. I chose to drink from the oldest to the youngest:

1977 DOW`S VINTAGE PORT- the first hit I got off the nose was of TCA and after going back much later on, it was still present; however, the taste had no perceptible wet cardboard notes and was a real treat; milk chocolate and almond butter provided nice accents to the dried red and black very fruit; it had a wonderful mildly soft and creamy texture which was a highlight for me.

1985 DOW`S VINTAGE PORT- ruby color; tantalising nose of raisin, walnuts and dried black fruit carried on in the taste profile with some semblance of balance; it was very easy on the palate and quite approachable although this has decades to evolve before maturity.

1990 DOW`S QUINTA do BOMFIM VINTAGE PORT- vanilla, chocolate, raisin and dried dark fruit highlight this fine wine which drank ever so easily leaving a satisfying film on the palate from its long finish; it was definitively more full bodied than the 85` and 77` and as such presented more power and yet had wonderful finesse.

SQVP {single quinta vintage Port} is made in much the same way as Vintage i.e. aged for 2-3 years in cask before bottling without filtration – and is generally produced from a Port house’s finest single vineyard, in this case, the A-rated Quinta do Bomfim, in years that are not declared.

Dow`s vineyards are now almost entirely planted in varietal batches, meaning each variety may be picked and subsequently vinified separately, thus allowing for each grape’s maximum potential to be achieved. The principal grape varieties planted are: 30% Touriga Franca); 20% Touriga Nacional; 13% Tinta Barroca; 13% Tinta Roriz and 12% old mixed vines, while other grape varieties account for the remaining 12%.

1994 DOW`S VINTAGE PORT- from the stellar vintage of 94` this shined ever so brightly and gave generously of its gifts; not too sweet and not too dry, I got raisin, dried fig, black cherry and plum in spades; it was full bodied, complex and certainly in need of more time; it was a perfect time to check in on this at this stage because it promises to evolve into something extra special down the line.

2003 DOW`S VINTAGE PORT- I firmly believe I could have picked out which of the 5 Ports was the longest by color alone, but this youngster exuded vibrant youthfulness in every way; it had a pure deep dark purple color, huge aromatics and taste profile being very fruit forward with licorice, coffee and dark chocolate in an even stride with sweetened plum, blackberry and black cherry; it was rich and full bodied and subjective of good things to come.

This was a really fine evening sans the cigars for me.

Cheers,
Blake

fullsizeoutput_20ab.jpeg
fullsizeoutput_20aa.jpeg
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
Napolean Bonaparte

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

Kelly Flynn
Posts: 504
Joined: March 14th, 2018, 11:12 am

Re: 5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#2 Post by Kelly Flynn » December 5th, 2018, 11:58 am

Love it, Blake! You do not mess around.

I have long felt Dow's was underrated among ports -- itself an underrated category. About a year ago I shared a mag of the 77 Dow's with a group of old friends, and we couldn't have asked for anything more. Wave upon wave of spicy fruit crashing down on the palate. The 66 and 70 are both in a great place now as well, and one of these days I will have an occasion worthy of popping my one remaining 63.

Always an interesting question as to when to crack open these puppies. I have a good deal of 03 but have yet to try a single bottle. Also how to pair them with food (thanks for avoiding chocolate). Looks like you did both of these questions justice.

User avatar
Blake Brown
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5292
Joined: May 2nd, 2010, 11:17 pm
Location: Santa Barbara

Re: 5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#3 Post by Blake Brown » December 5th, 2018, 1:03 pm

Kelly Flynn wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 11:58 am
Love it, Blake! You do not mess around.

I have long felt Dow's was underrated among ports -- itself an underrated category. About a year ago I shared a mag of the 77 Dow's with a group of old friends, and we couldn't have asked for anything more. Wave upon wave of spicy fruit crashing down on the palate. The 66 and 70 are both in a great place now as well, and one of these days I will have an occasion worthy of popping my one remaining 63.

Always an interesting question as to when to crack open these puppies. I have a good deal of 03 but have yet to try a single bottle. Also how to pair them with food (thanks for avoiding chocolate). Looks like you did both of these questions justice.
Thanks Kelly. Having had the extreme pleasure of attending a special Port tasting earlier this year which featured 9 Ports from 45` and 3 from 35`, I learned Vintage Port can and does age gracefully and very slowly. Many of these were still going through stages of development in the opinion of my friend who supplied the wines. So, as to the 03`, its really a pup and has a LONG life ahead. If you can wait, it would seem prudent. That's true even for the 77`s.
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
Napolean Bonaparte

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

User avatar
rsmithjr
Posts: 76
Joined: December 8th, 2015, 11:25 am
Location: Troy, Mich

Re: 5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#4 Post by rsmithjr » December 5th, 2018, 4:49 pm

I have one bottle of 77' Dow. Hope its held up.
Roger Smith- Longtime wine drinker and bon vivant'

User avatar
D@vid Bu3ker
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 28261
Joined: February 14th, 2009, 8:06 am

Re: 5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#5 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » December 5th, 2018, 5:46 pm

Love Dow Ports. That and Fonseca are the standard bearers for my palate.
David Bueker - Rieslingfan

James Billy
Posts: 622
Joined: November 10th, 2016, 6:53 pm

Re: 5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#6 Post by James Billy » December 6th, 2018, 4:27 am

Kelly Flynn wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 11:58 am
Love it, Blake! You do not mess around.

I have long felt Dow's was underrated among ports -- itself an underrated category. About a year ago I shared a mag of the 77 Dow's with a group of old friends, and we couldn't have asked for anything more. Wave upon wave of spicy fruit crashing down on the palate. The 66 and 70 are both in a great place now as well, and one of these days I will have an occasion worthy of popping my one remaining 63.

Always an interesting question as to when to crack open these puppies. I have a good deal of 03 but have yet to try a single bottle. Also how to pair them with food (thanks for avoiding chocolate). Looks like you did both of these questions justice.
I always thought Dow to be one of the top rated big lodges. What's higher rated apart from Noval?

User avatar
Jerry Hey
Posts: 1170
Joined: January 26th, 2010, 5:16 pm

Re: 5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#7 Post by Jerry Hey » December 6th, 2018, 7:55 am

I had the Dow 94 last night, brought by a friend who had opened it last weekend and used the vacuvin on it. It was an excellent bottle with the alcohol in check, beautiful dark color and fruits, more black cherry than raisins, and mouth coating body.
Last edited by Jerry Hey on December 7th, 2018, 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Brad Kane
Posts: 4881
Joined: March 4th, 2009, 6:24 pm
Location: NYC

Re: 5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#8 Post by Brad Kane » December 6th, 2018, 8:04 am

Unfortunately, the '77 Dow's are notoriously corky. A real shame as intact ones are stellar.

Love the '94s. A truly special vintage with a plush mouthfeel.
Last edited by Brad Kane on December 6th, 2018, 8:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
itb.

User avatar
Blake Brown
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5292
Joined: May 2nd, 2010, 11:17 pm
Location: Santa Barbara

Re: 5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#9 Post by Blake Brown » December 6th, 2018, 8:09 am

Brad Kane wrote:
December 6th, 2018, 8:04 am
Unfortunately, the '77 Dow's is notoriously corky. A real shame as intact ones are stellar.

Love the '94s. A truly special vintage with a plush mouthfeel.
If a wine has to be corked, this one had to be the best case scenario in that the decent taste profile had none of it which made it so much easier to get by the aroma.
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
Napolean Bonaparte

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

User avatar
Mike Grammer
Posts: 5296
Joined: April 27th, 2010, 7:19 am
Location: Toronto

Re: 5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#10 Post by Mike Grammer » December 6th, 2018, 12:37 pm

A 'humble" 1980 Dow is what Roy chose to pour me when I visited him many years ago. Changed my whole perspective on port. I think I have a bottle of the 2003, so your note is much appreciated Blake. Useful too to see the 94 still needs sleep.

Decant time(s) for the ports?

A bientot,

Mike

User avatar
Blake Brown
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5292
Joined: May 2nd, 2010, 11:17 pm
Location: Santa Barbara

Re: 5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#11 Post by Blake Brown » December 6th, 2018, 1:24 pm

Mike Grammer wrote:
December 6th, 2018, 12:37 pm
A 'humble" 1980 Dow is what Roy chose to pour me when I visited him many years ago. Changed my whole perspective on port. I think I have a bottle of the 2003, so your note is much appreciated Blake. Useful too to see the 94 still needs sleep.

Decant time(s) for the ports?

A bientot,

Mike
Mike, I`ll defer to those who have much more experience with Port re the decant time. Obviously, its a different animal, being fortified.
Last edited by Blake Brown on December 7th, 2018, 7:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
Napolean Bonaparte

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

User avatar
John Danza
Posts: 1370
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 12:23 pm
Location: Chicagoland

Re: 5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#12 Post by John Danza » December 6th, 2018, 1:37 pm

Blake, it sounds like a great event.

Your bottle of the '77 was definitely flawed. I did a horizontal tasting of 1977 ports last year and the Dow is still youthful and showing really well.

As Mike asked, it would be good to know what the decant time was on those ports before the spigot thing was put in the bottle. All of those ports will benefit from at least an 8-hour decant, with the younger ones needing much more than that.
John Danza

User avatar
Craig G
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 13022
Joined: March 6th, 2011, 10:57 am
Location: Town of Cats

Re: 5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#13 Post by Craig G » December 6th, 2018, 9:04 pm

Jerry Hey wrote:
December 6th, 2018, 7:55 am
I had the Dow 94 last night, brought by a friend who had opened it last weekend and used the vacuvin on it. It was an excellent bottle with the alcohol in check, beautiful dark color and fruits, more black cherry than raisins, and moth coating body.
That descriptor bugs me.
“I want to halve your babies” — King Solomon

C. Gle@son

User avatar
Blake Brown
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5292
Joined: May 2nd, 2010, 11:17 pm
Location: Santa Barbara

Re: 5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#14 Post by Blake Brown » December 7th, 2018, 7:39 am

John Danza wrote:
December 6th, 2018, 1:37 pm
Blake, it sounds like a great event.

Your bottle of the '77 was definitely flawed. I did a horizontal tasting of 1977 ports last year and the Dow is still youthful and showing really well.

As Mike asked, it would be good to know what the decant time was on those ports before the spigot thing was put in the bottle. All of those ports will benefit from at least an 8-hour decant, with the younger ones needing much more than that.
John, I asked our host about what he did and this is his reply: "None of the ports were decanted with the exception of the '77 which had crumbled cork debris. It spent about 10 minutes in a decanter after being poured through a strainer."

I would have decanted all for at least 5-6 hours not really knowing what is most ideal length of time to do so, but at least to decant. I'm also not sure how old a Port needs to be before its not that beneficial. All the wines in the 45` and 35` Port event I attended were only opened via Port tongs an hour or so before pouring. Each bottle was filtered when decanted.
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
Napolean Bonaparte

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

User avatar
Jerry Hey
Posts: 1170
Joined: January 26th, 2010, 5:16 pm

Re: 5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#15 Post by Jerry Hey » December 7th, 2018, 10:01 am

Craig G wrote:
December 6th, 2018, 9:04 pm
Jerry Hey wrote:
December 6th, 2018, 7:55 am
I had the Dow 94 last night, brought by a friend who had opened it last weekend and used the vacuvin on it. It was an excellent bottle with the alcohol in check, beautiful dark color and fruits, more black cherry than raisins, and moth coating body.
That descriptor bugs me.
Sorry - fixed.

User avatar
John Danza
Posts: 1370
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 12:23 pm
Location: Chicagoland

Re: 5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#16 Post by John Danza » December 7th, 2018, 12:53 pm

Blake Brown wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 7:39 am
John Danza wrote:
December 6th, 2018, 1:37 pm
Blake, it sounds like a great event.

Your bottle of the '77 was definitely flawed. I did a horizontal tasting of 1977 ports last year and the Dow is still youthful and showing really well.

As Mike asked, it would be good to know what the decant time was on those ports before the spigot thing was put in the bottle. All of those ports will benefit from at least an 8-hour decant, with the younger ones needing much more than that.
John, I asked our host about what he did and this is his reply: "None of the ports were decanted with the exception of the '77 which had crumbled cork debris. It spent about 10 minutes in a decanter after being poured through a strainer."

I would have decanted all for at least 5-6 hours not really knowing what is most ideal length of time to do so, but at least to decant. I'm also not sure how old a Port needs to be before its not that beneficial. All the wines in the 45` and 35` Port event I attended were only opened via Port tongs an hour or so before pouring. Each bottle was filtered when decanted.
Thanks very much for the update Blake. It's really unfortunate that the wines weren't able to show what they're really capable of due to the lack of air.
John Danza

User avatar
Blake Brown
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5292
Joined: May 2nd, 2010, 11:17 pm
Location: Santa Barbara

Re: 5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#17 Post by Blake Brown » December 11th, 2018, 7:40 am

I inquired about opening young Ports such as these 5 from a friend who has a long love for Port and a huge collection. He has put on some amazing retrospective tastings one featuring those from 1929 and the one I alluded above which had 145s and 1935s. Here's a paraphrase of his response;

"Serving young Ports like the 77 and younger, they would benefit from a full day in the decanter. It's a total waste to try to enjoy Ports that have not reached their prime drinking window. The youngest Ports to enjoy now are the great 1970's but even these need to see some time in the decanter."
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
Napolean Bonaparte

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

User avatar
Mike Grammer
Posts: 5296
Joined: April 27th, 2010, 7:19 am
Location: Toronto

Re: 5 Dow`s Vintage Ports

#18 Post by Mike Grammer » December 11th, 2018, 9:32 am

I'm surprised too, that the host chose to pnp most of them. The 80 Dow Roy (Hersh) poured for me had at least an 8 hour decant. And where port is concerned, I will *always* listen to Roy :)

Your friend's comments are the reason I have, sadly, bought no 2011s. I just can't foresee me or my tastebuds making it out the 35 years that will be needed to properly enjoy them. I have had one from half-bottle and understand what a truly special vintage it is. But for the generation to come, not me.

Post Reply

Return to “Wine Talk”