2016 Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Porto
Dec 2022 Selection
Dow’s 2016 vintage was produced from a region that had 40% more rain than the previous 30-years averaged, to produce fruit that led to balanced, elegant wines.
The story of Dow’s is unusual amongst all the great Port houses. It began in 1798 when Bruno da Silva, a Portuguese merchant from Oporto, made a journey that was the opposite to those of the first British merchants. Bruno set up in London from where he imported wine from his native country. He married an Englishwoman and was rapidly assimilated into London society where his business acumen led to a fine reputation for his wines. But the outbreak of the Napoleonic wars put his business in jeopardy. Undaunted, Bruno da Silva applied for ‘letters of marque’ (Royal Assent to equip a merchant ship with guns) to secure safe passage of his Port from Oporto to Bristol and to London. His became the first and only Port Company to transport its precious cargo of casks of fine Ports under its own armed protection across the treacherous Bay of Biscay, a strong dissuasion to attack during a period when less audacious companies saw their sales dwindle away.
The Port shipping business was continued by Bruno’s son, John da Silva who in 1862 brought into partnership Frederick William Cosens. Together with John’s son, Edward, they became the active partners in Silva & Cosens. Edward da Silva inherited his grandfather’s business ability and the company continued to prosper. In 1877, Silva & Cosens merged with another leading Port company, Dow & Co, whose senior partner was James Ramsay Dow. Although smaller than Silva & Cosens, Dow & Co had become a very highly regarded Port producer with a particularly fine reputation for its Vintage Ports and when the two companies merged, it was decided to adopt DOW’S as the brand name.
The 2016 vintage experienced an exceptionally wet, unseasonably warm winter, followed by an exceptionally wet, unseasonably cold spring. The following summer was also exceptionally hot. At the end of August, the Douro region experienced 40% more rain than the previous 30-years averaged. All these factors were ideal for producing fruit that led to balanced, elegant wines.
Winemakers’ notes describe this wine thus: “Full-bodied, rich and perfectly balanced, Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Ports are carefully selected to reflect the unique characteristics of each vintage, and are only bottled in the best years. Dow’s 2016 Late Bottled Vintage Port shares the same provenance with Dow’s legendary Vintage Ports, the iconic Douro properties of Quinta do Bomfim and Quinta Senhora da Ribeira. Aged in seasoned oak vats four to six years before bottling and release (ready to drink), and carrying Dow’s distinctive drier finish, this is an LBV worthy of attention.”
The 2016 LBV Porto has been praised by critics and awarded 93 points by Wine & Spirits, 92 points by Wine Spectator, and is a Wine Enthusiast Editor’s choice with 92 points.
This is a wonderful dessert wine that can be enjoyed on its own or with chocolate or cheeses.