The SOMM Journal

April / May 2015

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Page 69 of 112

{ }  69 One case in point is Dow's 2009 Late Bottled Vintage Port ($24, 750 ml.), bal- anced and elegant with notes of blackberry, cassis, black licorice, cocoa powder, violet and sandalwood. Part of the Symington Family Estates, Dow's is easily recognized as one of the top names in Port. Their "A"-rated Quinta do Bomfim and Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira vineyards, planted to Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz and old mixed vines, which are vinified separately on site, are the source of their vintage port. Their vintage port gets the top six of 45 independently fermented batches of single varietal lots: the sandalwood, cocoa powder and sandalwood components from Bonfim and the violet and mint notes from Senhora da Ribeira. Fourth-generation family member and Joint Managing Director Rupert Symington says, "After we select the six lots for vintage, the next 15 to 20 best lots go into our LBV." In other words, the Dow's LBV is made with the same fruit from the same prestigious vineyards as the Dow's Vintage Port (current vintage: 2011, $225). Another plus for somms and chefs is the higher acidity and drier finish of the Dow's LBV. While the family's Graham's and Cockburn's are richer, Dow's LBV is fermented longer, so yeasts continue to consume sugar and the wine ends up drier. It's especially appropriate for cheeses, particularly the local earthy, sharp and aromatic Queso Serra de Estrela sheep's milk, which incorporates the peppermint and eucalyptus notes found in older Ports from the roots of the gum cistus or rockrose shrub eaten by the sheep, or a strong, well-aged gouda. It works superbly for chocolate—"Dark choco- late with Port accentuates the blue fruit, the purity of fruit," says Symington, "and it is delicious with fudge brownies without too much sugar"—and the Dow's 2009 LBV is ideal for blending with veal stock and sauce espagnole for a lively demi-glace, or for a port wine reduction sauce to serve over meat. Rupert suggests giving a bottle to the kitchen to play around with. "We are taking LBV back to its roots from our 2009 going forward. Dow's is not an LBV made in every year, only in better vintages, so there will be no 2010. As 2011 was one of the best vintages in recent years, we will release a 2011 LBV, says Symington. Their production of LBV is 15–20,000 cases, versus 5,000 of vintage. Together this is 10% of what Dow's produces, and 0.2 percent of Douro's total production. Dow's is imported by Premium Port Wines. WHY DOW'S 2009 LBV PORT? Profitable Three-ounce pour at $11.83/750 ml. bottle = $1.41 cost per serving Prestigious Prestige of "vintage" in the name A look into vintage without the price—same prestigious vineyards and fruit Practical Shelf life of two weeks, up to four if refrigerated Well-distributed and widely available despite being rare, hand-crafted and artisanal

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