The history of the Dow’s winery dates back to 1798, when the Portuguese merchant Bruno da Silva left to England to sell products from his own area. This was very unusual at the time, when rather English merchants left for Portugal to buy wine and set up vineyards there. Dow’s is one of the few port wine houses with a purely Portuguese background. Bruno’s children and grandchildren continued the Silva & Cosens company until it merged in 1877 with another port wine company, Dow’s & Co. Although Silva & Cosens was bigger as a winery, the entire production was combined under the Dow’s brand.
Dow’s Fine Tawny is a blend of port wines aged in oak barrels for at least 3 years. It is one of Dow’s core range products, while there plenty of are older port wines up to 30 years of matured. It can be found quite comprehensively in Estonian supermarkets, the price of a 75cl bottle is about 14 €.
The aroma is quite light, with a slight aroma of raspberries, nuts and oak. The taste is more dryer than the traditional sweet, slightly berry (strawberry, raspberry) and light nutty. There is a certain alcohol bite and otherwise there is a sense of youth and some kind of unfinishedness in the taste. The aftertaste has a bit of tannic bitterness, it is dry and quite short. Fine Tawny is clearly Dow’s basic range product, affordable, young, efficiently produced and comprehensively sold in grocery stores. It gives a good picture of what tawny wines are all about, but it doesn’t offer any particular enjoyment. It would clearly need even more years in the barrel, though probably the grape juice used is not of such quality that it would take longer maturation. The glass goes just fine, but after that, youth, one-side taste and the bitterness of the aftertaste begins to disturb.