75cl * 20% ABV * Douro, Portugal
A superb vintage from Dow's. James Suckling from the Wine Spectator described this as the "Best Dow in decades". In June, 1996, when the wines were still in the barrel, Suckling wrote an article entitled Monumental 1994 Vintage Port, stating: “If you love classic vintage Port, you're going to fall head over heels for 1994. Great Port vintages like this only happen a few times in a lifetime."
Only produced on average two or three times every ten years when the weather conditions are sufficiently good, Dow’s Vintage Ports represent only a very small part of the total company’s production in that year. 1994 was the start of the modern era for vintage Port after the combination of a near-perfect growing season and temperate weather during the harvest (at a time when temperature control was unheard of) made for a benchmark vintage.
This outstanding, well-structured and ripe Port from 1994 can be enjoyed when young and vibrant or can be allowed to age for many more years in bottle into a soft and delicate wine of velvet-like elegance, even up to 50 or over 100 years old! The nose of the 1994 has the distinctive ‘violet’ aroma which is always present in the great years. We would recommend decanting for at least an hour and a half, if not 2 hours.
From the Symington Family tasting room, September 2021:
Amazing near opaque crimson centre, belying its 27 years of age. Very fresh, focused fruit on the nose with distinctive aromas of blackcurrant and some liquorice notes. On the palate, the wine is very seductive, muscular, and taut with Dow’s typical peppery tannins, well integrated in the fruit and underpinning the incredible structure. Bright acidity shines through the wine, assuring its balance and further longevity. Irresistible to drink now but with another two or three decades of life ahead of it.
~ Critic Reviews ~
Robert Parker, 1996, Wine Advocate 96/100 "The massive 1994 is unquestionably the finest Dow I have tasted since the 1977. This opaque purple-colored wine is not as developed or flamboyant as Fonseca, but it is super-concentrated and multi-layered, with huge masses of fruit and some tannin in the finish. This is a slightly drier style than Fonseca or Graham's, but it appears to be a classic, majestic, enormously constituted 1994 that should age effortlessly for three decades or more. It is one of the stars of the vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2030."
James Suckling, 1999 Wine Spectator 97/100 "A blackstrap, powerful Port. Black, with intense aromas of raspberries, raisins, flowers and stems. Full-bodied and medium sweet, with a long, rich finish. Tannins pull at your palate. A wine for the future."
Lisa Perotti Brown, 97 Points "Deep garnet colour. The nose is just beginning to evolve into musky, dried plum and raisin aromas with whiffs of tree bark, nutmeg, cumin and cloves. The palate is seriously big and voluptuous with medium to high acidity and a medium to firm level of fine tannins. Very long finish."
Michael Broadbent MW, 1998 Vintage Wine (Broadbent, 2002) Four Stars, will mature to Five. "It was certainly impressive, with a sort of waxy fruit, not at all spirity despite its youthfulness . More recently, still opaque; complete, opulent, laden with fruit and flesh, very dry finish. Very good future."