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15 April, 2021

Dow’s 10- and 20-Year-Old Tawny Ports

Posted in : Fortified Wine, Port on by : The Gourmez

Last fall, I received samples of Dow’s current releases of 10-Year and 20-Year Tawny Ports for review. Dow ‘s (website), of course, is one of the most prestigious winemaking houses in the Douro, Portugal region. Port is one of my favorite wines—I just love how much complexity is in each glass along with enough sweetness to either enjoy as a dessert on its own or a complement a great one.

A bottle of Dow's port beside a glass of the port and a cork on a tablecloth.

Dow’s 20-Year-Old Tawny Porto

These two offerings are no exception to that rule. Interestingly, I enjoyed the younger wine a bit more this time around. That’s a great reminder that the oldest vintages available are not necessarily the best ones—it’s all about finding the right wine at the right time to enjoy in its prime. Which of course will vary with every single bottle! And that is also why I’m more inclined to just drink the wine in front of me rather than spend too much time trying to seek out that perfect bottle. 😁

Dow’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto

This wine’s color is hard caramel, like See’s Candy suckers. It smells rich, of caramel slightly burnt and herbs hung on a porch to dry—menthol in particular. On drinking, roasted figs and roasted strawberries dominate, and it settles into a fig butter mouthfeel. The brown sugar notes are strong and luxurious. It’s a warm brown butter sauce poured over a brown sugar pound cake with chopped roasted fruits on top. You’ve been eyeing that cake during every course, and now it’s time to make your move.

Dow’s 20-Year-Old Tawny Porto

The colors are sumptuous: spun sugar or pulled caramel with no added cream to mar its natural beauty. The marketing materials say “saturated brown,” so sure, that too. 😉

Port in a cylindrical drinking glass, a rich brown.

Saturated Brown

It’s smooth going down and brings out a hankering for butter-toasted peanuts. Flavors are complex, definitely leaning on the nuttier side of tasting notes: butterscotch, hazelnut, toasted walnut, fig, prune. Spice blends in smoothly and unobtrusively, the softness of mace. Its fruit is a quick splash of tangy currant. A hint of vanilla amplifies the other flavors, just as a good vanilla should. There’s strong alcohol heat! Be forewarned but do enjoy this Port with vanilla-based desserts that can calm that heat. Even just pouring an ounce over a bowl of vanilla bean ice cream would do.

Thanks to Dow’s for these sample wines to review. I always look forward to Port in my glass.

Tasted December 2020.

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