5 Dow Vintage Ports

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Blake Brown
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Location: Santa Barbara

5 Dow Vintage Ports

Post by Blake Brown » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:02 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.

"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

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