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Great Wine: Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Port


When the music’s over … Turn out the lights, turn out the lights … So goes the song by The Doors. The ball has dropped on Times Square, the ornaments have come down off the trees, the old wall calendar has been taken off and replaced, and the frenetic energy of the constant bustle of end-of-year festivities has dimmed down to the lull of a falling snowflake or the patter of raindrops. Post-Champagne and bubbly, what is there left to drink in the cupboard? Let’s hope you have a bottle of Port on the shelf, because nothing says “post-mortem” like Port wine. Want to reflect on the tumultuous 2016 that just passed?—have a glass of Port in hand. Want to make resolutions for the future that may or may not stick? —do it with Port. 

A “dessert” red wine of Portuguese origin that’s fortified to increase residual sugar and alcohol content which almost hits half the level of hard liquor, Port in its heyday was a hot commodity amongst British sailors of 18th century trade. DOW’S, family-owned for the last 200 years, is one of the great names in Port makers, and their Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Port is distinctive and delicious to sip, while being priced at an excellent value as compared to the prestigious vintage ports, which aren’t made every year, that can cost five times as much. 2008 was not a great year for Port, but this bottling is substantially satisfying—proof that you can go with a bottle of LBV Port from any available vintage from Dow’s and find much pleasure. Basking in the sweetness of ripe plum, dark fig, black cherry and baked rhubarb flavors, this is Port with excellent length that warms the chest as each sip dissipates. There’s depth and brightness here—just enough seriousness for remembrance of things past but enough optimism for hope springs eternal.  –J.M.


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January 7, 2017


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