Dow's VINTAGE 2017
Pure grape aromas that remind me of fermenting must but then goes to stems and dried flowers. Full-bodied, medium sweet with fine-grained tannins that coat your palate. Powerful and muscular yet remains agile and beautiful. Grows on your palate. Wonderful ripe fruit in the middle palate. Try after 2030.
The 2017 Dow's Vintage Port showed a slight reduction and required more time to really open in the glass. Typical of Dow's it has a more backward and introspective bouquet compared to its peers, scents of blackberry, clove, wild mint, cassis and vanilla, gradually gaining more intensity with aeration. The palate is simply glorious. It is built around a compelling tannic frame that seems finer than any Dow's I have encountered apart from the ethereal 2011. There is so much energy coiled up in this Port, a sense of symmetry that is enthralling and yet you just know that it needs to be cellared for 15-20 years for it to reveal its full potential. For serious Port-lovers. One of the vintages most cerebral offerings. Total production is 5,250 cases.
Based on fruit from the predominantly south-facing Quinta do Bomfim in the Cima Corgo and Quinta Senhora da Ribeira in the Douro Superior, with Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca making up 80% of the blend. This is opaque and closed in but powerfully ripe with underlying pure berry fruit. It's seemingly quite introverted compared to some of its peers at this stage, but it's still full, rich and opulent on the palate. It also shows the latent power of the vintage, made as it is in a slightly drier style (3.4 Baumé), with lovely minty fruit and full, ripe sinewy tannins all the way through the finish. Long and lithe, and very fine.
The 2017 Vintage Port, bottled in May for release in the third quarter of 2019, is mostly a 42/38 blend of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca with old vines and miscellaneous others (including about 8% Alicante Bouschet) for the rest. It was bottled about a month before this tasting after 18 months in seasoned vats, but the just-bottled sample was not actually used for fear it might be in shock. This, accordingly, was actually a pre-bottling sample. It comes in with 106 grams of residual sugar.
A dense, thickly textured version, dripping with warm salted licorice, tar and açaí paste notes, while plum and blueberry pâte de fruit, chai spice and chocolate elements fill in behind. Lots of brambly grip flows underneath. Shows a very sappy feel on the finish. Best from 2035 through 2055.
This is a dry while also floral wine, perfumed and enticing with its juicy acidity. At the same time, the structure is very present, showing power and dark black fruits. The balance is coming together with the rich fruits and tannins melding into one. Drink from 2028.