The principal part of the Dow’s 2016 Vintage Port is sourced from the Vinha dos Ecos vineyard, a gently rising slope behind the estate house at Bomfim. Planted in 1988, these mature Touriga Franca vines yielded a tiny 0.68 Kg/vine, half the 20-year average. From the adjoining Vale Botelhos vineyard, on traditional drystone terraces, Charles Symington chose Sousão grapes for the excellent colour and freshness which the fine acidity of this variety provides. The grapes from these two vineyards were fermented together in the modern lagar winery at Bomfim. These co-fermentations work very well, the characteristics of each variety amplifying the other’s finest qualities; the Sousão’s acidity matching the Franca’s floral aromas. A small component of very old mixed vines from the vineyard directly in front of the Bomfim house, yielding a minuscule 320g/vine, contributed added complexity and structure.
The other indispensable component of any Dow’s Vintage Port, Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira, contributed exceptionally well-ripened grapes from its mature Vinha Grande vineyard whose east-facing aspect and 200 to 450 metres of altitude, proved beneficial in the very hot and dry conditions, shielding the Touriga Nacional vines during the ripening cycles. Senhora da Ribeira’s small riverside Zé Barqueiro vineyard supplied Alicante Bouschet which gives the wine great structure and weight. Senhora da Ribeira’s production was vinified in the Quinta’s small lagar winery.
98 points Decanter
Based on Touriga Franca with Touriga Nacional and Sousão. Tight-knit, with firm, rapier-like tannins on the palate – a ramrod all the way through with the opulence and flesh of the fruit on the finish. Fine-grained with great purity and expression. Leaner and much more restrained in style than others: the drier style of Dow works really well in ripe years such as 2016 (as it did in 2011). Outstanding wine for the long term. (RM) (5/2018)