Deep ruby color; red and black fruits, pepper on the nose; plum, red cherry, blackberry, blackcurrant tang, minerality on the palate.
Dry; medium-full body; rustic feel in the mouth; good fruit with balancing acidity; somewhat assertive tannins—decant for best appreciation. Blend of 40% touriga franca, 25% touriga nacional, 35% field blend from the Quinta do Bomfim and Quinta da Senhora de Riberia vineyards in northern Portugal. Aged nine months in French oak. Very pleasant fruit and spice notes on the finish.
Like many Portuguese wines, a lot of wine for the price and a flavor adventure that takes you out of your bland factory wine comfort zone. The grapes come from the Symington family’s Douro vineyards in Northern Portugal which also provide grapes for the House of Dow’s premier Port offerings. The touriga franca vines performed especially well in 2015 and, thus, were the leaders in the blend for this vintage.
For years, the Symington’s—famous for their Dow port wines—made this as a house wine, but after entreaties they deigned to produce some for export to the U.S., where it quickly received praise and now is a staple of QPR (quality to price ratio) plaudits from the wine press, particularly those who savor adventure. Distribution now is moving into additional countries.
In addition to this wine, Symington Family Estates makes Porto and Madeira wines. They enjoy the largest vineyard ownership in the Douro. The company was founded by Andrew James Symington, who arrived in Oporto from Scotland in 1882. He initially joined Graham’s. In 1905 he was a partner in Warre & Co and in 1912 a partner in Dow’s Port. In 1970, the family bought both Graham’s and Smith Woodhouse. In 1989 the family became a partner in the Madeira Wine Company, at that time controlled by the Blandy family. They now control Cockburn’s, Graham’s, Warre’s, Dow’s, Smith Woodhouse, Gould Campbell, Quarles Harris, and Martinez—by far the strongest Porto portfolio in the world. Symington’s Madeira holdings include Blandy’s, Cossart Gordon, Leacock’s, and Miles—making them a major player in Madeira wine.
In 1989, the Symingtons purchased Quinta do Vesuvio, which they consider the finest Porto quinta in the world, from the Ferreira family. In 1999, they added Douro dry wines to their portfolio, of which this bottle is an example.
Dow Vale do Bomfim Douro DOC Red Wine Blend 2015 has excellent fruit that is slightly different from what you are used to from run-of-the-mill red wine blends. Improves with air, has grip and red-power substance that will pleasure experienced palates. It may, however, be a tad too rustic and earthy for neophytes. Definitely distinctive and quaffable for lovers of idiosyncratic libations, and clearly worth a fling at the price point. Pair with grilled meats, burgers, pizza, hard, flavorful cheese, chouriço—Portuguese version of chorizo, where the acidity will cut through the fat, also with herb-roasted lamb, venison and other wild game where the gaminess of the meat will play well with the rustic elements of the wine. $12-13