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Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2006

Review: Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage 2006 Port   92.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published on May 24, 2013

Dow’s is one of the Port Houses belonging to the Symington Family whose ancestry in the Port trade spans a period of over three and a half centuries. This family’s association with Dow’s began in the early 1900′s when Andrew James Symington became a partner in Warre & Co, the first and oldest British Port company established in Portugal. The Warre Family at the time owned Dow’s; but apparently had little interest in managing the company and invited Symington to manage the vineyards and lodges of Dow’s as well those of  Warre & Co.. In 1912, Andrew Symington, acquired 30 % ownership of Dow’s, and later in 1961, the Symington Family gained full control and sole ownership of the entire company.

Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Port wines are produced from grapes grown in a single year from Dow’s best vineyards. The wine has been matured for between four and six years and is filtered prior to bottling. Because it has been matured and then filtered, this style of Port wine is ready for immediate consumption and will not require decanting or filtering of sediment before serving.

(Note: I was provided a sample bottle of Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2006 by The Bacchus Group, who are responsible for its importation here in Alberta.)

SAM_0752 Dow's 2006 LBV

In the Bottle 4/5

I snapped a nice picture of the Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage wine on my back deck (shown to the right). As you can see this bottle follows the same pattern or style as almost all other Port Wines you might come across. It is a tall dark green bottle with a simple professional label.

I almost gave the presentation an extra half point for having an attractive gold coloured label under the main label; but I realized that I was stretching things a bit and decided to leave the score alone.

Hopefully one day I will come across a Port Wine that arrives in a snazzy bottle with eye-popping graphics. But until then my scores in this section will be rather uniform, just like all the bottles are.

In the glass 22.5/25

When I poured myself a glass of the Dow’s LBV, I noticed that this wine seems darker than other LBV wines I have sampled in the past. The wine at the center of my glass was almost black with a very dark purple hue which did not reveal any lighter tones until we reached the crest of the wine.

The initial nose displayed very soft fruity tones with a subtle earthy quality alongside. I felt I could smell upturned earth with rich black humus filled soil under the soft fruit. As you let the wine breathe the fruity smells begin to grow slowly seeping into the air with smells of blackberries, plums and dark red cherries. There are hints of dry fruit, as well as grape skins and stems adding to that earthy quality underneath. Although the information given to me indicated that the wine did not require decanting, I found allowing my glass to breathe reaped major rewards as the longer the glass sat the stronger and fresher the aroma became.

After allowing the glass to breathe a full 20 minutes the wine exhibited a stronger aroma of freshness with the berries carrying a jam-like scent into the air. I found the nose extremely well-balanced with all of the fruit acting in concert and no single element trying to take center stage.

In the mouth 47/50

The flavour is almost perfect featuring soft berry flavours, and a beguiling sweetness. The tannins and the acidity are noticeably blunted making the wine soft and luscious in the mouth. As we slowly sip, the fresh fruity flavours grow and grow but there is a nice counterbalance of subtle cocoa and hints of dry fruit.

The nose is fully revealed in the flavour, and the Port wine is finely balanced and well-rounded. In fact, the flavours are so beautifully integrated that it was hard to pick out individual fruit flavours. I seem to taste raspberries, blueberries, dark red cherries, plums and blackberries all melded together deliciously. The wine is softly sweet with a lovely dryness at the very back of the palate.

In the Throat 14/15

Elegant flavours of sweet fruit slowly ebb to reveal a finish which features soft dry tannins (flavours of grape stems and berry skins). A light acidity and mild spiciness caress the palate resulting in a warm, mouth-watering finish.

My Final Impressions  5/5

The Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage 2006 is an absolutely great Port wine. It begins soft and subtle, yet when allowed to breathe brings forth delicious sweet fruit and berry flavours. I sampled the Port wine over several days and found that the rich soft flavour lasted until the bottle was empty.

If you are interested in some comparative reviews, here is a link to all of my Port Wine Reviews!

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My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:

0-25 A wine or spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair wine or spirit. You may accept a glass graciously.
75-79 This is of sufficient quality that you may begin to serve it to your friends.
80-84 This is a quality wine which will bring you compliments.
85-89 Excellent for special friends and special occasions.
90-94 Definitely a premium quality wine, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:

70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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Note: I wish to make it clear that I am not a sommelier. I have taken no classes in wine tasting, nor have I ever studied the subject to any degree. This review reflects an untrained opinion, and my scores are based solely upon my enjoyment of the wine, and not upon some quantitative measurement of quality. However, I believe that there is an intrinsic link between quality and enjoyment.

 
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