The roots of Dow’s standing as a great Port house reach back over 200 years. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Dow’s Vintage Ports have been landmark wines in virtually every great year, consistently setting the standard amongst all Port houses. Vintage Ports such as the remarkable Dow 1896, the 1927, 1945 1955, 1963 and so on until the Dow 1994 are all legends in the history of this great wine. These Ports are still magnificent today, even when 50 or 100 years old. Few wines can claim this quality and pedigree. In 1912, Andrew Symington became a partner in Dow’s and today five members of the family own and work in the company: they personally manage all aspects of winemaking from the vineyard to the final bottling.
The Tawny Ports from Dow`s are selected once the wines are in barrel but the grapes come from across their 4 key vineyard sites; Bomfim, Senhora de Ribeira, Cerdeira and Santinho. Bomfim is situated in the centre of the best wine-producing area, known as the ‘Cima Corgo’, which offers an ideal balance between the relatively wet ‘Baixo Corgo’ to the west and the intense heat of the ‘Douro Superior’ to the east. Bomfim is south-facing and its stony schist soil affords excellent drainage allowing water to reach the vines’ deep roots; the annual rainfall is near perfect at 800mm and the altitude ranges from 120 to 340 metres above sea level. The climate is consistent, a combination of temperate and Mediterranean influences. Senhora da Ribeira is located 24km upriver from Quinta do Bomfim and is set in the remote, hot and dry Douro Superior on the north bank of the river. The quinta’s high proportion of old vines (45% are over 25 years old) is of critical importance. The old vines are very low-yielding, producing on average less than 1Kg of grapes each. As with Bomfim, the consistency of the climate plays a key role, although the rainfall is only half of that experienced at Bomfim: 448mm is the 10 year average. This more extreme climate, hot dry summers and cold, equally dry winters results in wines with unique depth of colour and complexity. As with Senhora da Ribeira, Santinho and Cerdeira benefit from a south-facing aspect and also share the same climatic profile. Between them, these two vineyards have a total of 18 hectares under vine, planted primarily with the Touriga Franca and the Tinta Roriz varieties.
Extensively aged in older oak barrels