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.
Robert Parker 93
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. There were 5,480 cases produced.