Dow’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port

Header-image-StephenBy Robert K Stephen (CSW)

(TORONTO, ON) – It’s been far too long since I have had a glass of Port, but my memories of Oporto and the Douro River create a sense of guilt for waiting so long to consume a glass of the mega historic and delicious.

Isn’t it interesting how travel can shape your appreciation for wine?

Dow 10-Year-Old-Tawny-LabelA couple of years ago, as a novice, I was invited to go on a one week trip to the Douro with but an academic and limited tasting knowledge of Port. The trip was incredibly special and a treat for a dumb novice.

However, after seven days of tasting Port from 10:00 am into the early morning hours, often at lavish and remote Quintas, I was afforded the opportunity to taste a wine that absolutely floored me, as to its versatility, quality, and pure enjoyment.

Why had I, and why should you, ignore Port? There is absolutely no reason to.

It is a brilliant and high quality wine, yet for many the image of Port is that of old men in the private club, smoking cigars and enjoying their Port from a pipe of Port. The trouble is, how to convert this stodgy image of Port into the dynamic and versatile wine that Port is.

It’s complicated, but as a novice I rather butchered my understanding of Port into Tawny Port being rather delicate, Late Bottled Vintage Port as being a heavy hitter, and Vintage Port being a rich monster.

Let’s take a taste of a Dow’s 10 year-old Tawny Port. Tawny has power, but becomes more nuanced with flavour as it ages. Personally, I like the complex personality of 40 year-old Tawny’s but the 10 year-old gives a youthful expression to what a Tawny is.

The misconception amongst many is that Port is a heavy hitter. Incorrect.

Tawny Ports are delicate and complex, terribly well suited to egg-based and custard desserts. The 10 year-old Dow’s Tawny has a classic garnet colour. Delicious aromas of raisin, butterscotch, and chocolate, all with a strong core of black cherry.

This is just a baby.

Give it 30 more years and, if you aren’t already in heaven, this would take you there.

Long lasting almond, black cherry, and raisin pie on the palate with a huge, long, but gentle finish. Terribly rich and yet delicate, which is a characteristic that few table wines can give you.

A great after dinner sipping wine, with or without a custard. A glass or two and you’ll be relaxed and transfixed by this Port’s elegance.

Terribly well balanced with a sneaky and creeping, but well disciplined, acidity. (Dow’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port, Symington Family Estates, Villa Nova de Gaia, Portugal, 750 mL, 20%, LCBO #246967, $34.95, Square Media Group Rating 92/100).

Please do let your guests know the alcohol content before pouring. It is smooth and very deceptive.

Welcome to Port.

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About the Author

Robert Stephen (CSW)
Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he loves The Square. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."Email Robert Stephen
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