Dow’s Finest Reserve Port (20%)

Dow’s Winery dates back to 1798 and is one of the few producers of port wine with a purely Portuguese background. Through various mergers, Dow’s has grown into a big player and is world famous especially in vintage port wines. Dow’s Finest Reserve is a ruby-style port wine. Its production begins as in normal winemaking, but fermentation is stopped by the addition of neutral alcohol (distilled from the wine), at a time when about half of the sugar in the grapes has become alcohol. The wine is matured in large oak vats for about three years. The 75 cl bottle cost around 14€.

The color is intense dark red. The aroma is strong; dark berries, strawberry and slightly spices. The taste is full-bodied and strong with blackcurrant, blackberry and dark cherry. The background has black pepper, tannin and dry wood. It is clearly drier than ruby-style port wines in general. The aftertaste has blackcurrant, black pepper and oak. The aftertaste is quite long and dry, and turns quite bitter.

Dow’s Finest Reserve has an intense dark berry taste, it’s definitely not a typical juicy and sweet ruby port. It feels a little too young, 1-2 more years of maturation would make it more balanced and smoother. The dry, peppery and bitter aftertaste doesn’t tempt you to take the next sip, it just requires something sweet as a partner. With some sweet and fatty desserts, Finest Reserve would probably go great. Drinking it neat without any snack, just a single serving begins to suffice. Dow’s Finest Reserve is a strong and challenging port wine. For those used to sweet ruby wines, it can be a pretty tricky case.


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