Port wine (also known as Vinho do Porto, Porto, and usually simply port) is a Portuguese fortified wine produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal. It is typically a sweet, red wine, often served as a dessert wine though it also comes in dry, semi-dry, and white varieties. The wine produced is then fortified by the addition of a neutral grape spirit known as aguardente in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine, and to boost the alcohol content. The fortification spirit is sometimes referred to as brandy but it bears little resemblance to commercial brandies. The wine is then stored and aged, in barrels stored in a cave, before being bottled. Over a hundred varieties of grapes are sanctioned for port production, although only five (Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Touriga Francesa, and Touriga Nacional) are widely cultivated and used. Touriga Nacional is widely considered the most desirable port grape but the difficulty in growing it and the small yields cause Touriga Francesa to be the most widely planted grape. White ports are produced the same way as red ports, except that they use white grapes—Donzelinho Branco, Esgana-Cão, Folgasão, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Viosinho.
- Item #: i_367400Bottle Size: 750mlWINE SPECTATOR 97 POINTS-"Offers intense aromas and flavors of violet, cherry and dark plum, showing an almost exotic velvety nature, with loads of cream and spice accents. Delivers notes of chocolate and vanilla extract on the explosive finish. Very alluring. Best from 2030 through 2060. 800 cases imported." (02/14) —Kim Marcus
- Item #: i_305534Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 92WINE ADVOCATE 92-94 POINTS-"The 2016 Vintage Port is a field blend that was set to be bottled about a week after this tasting. It was the final blend, aged for 20 months in wood. It comes in with 104 grams of residual sugar. Tight, powerful and very intense, this is a big boy with the firmness you expect from fine Vintage Port, although the Fonseca is even more powerful. Showing good concentration and a fresh, lifted finish too, this is impressive at the outset. Initially, I was wowed by this. A few more tastes with more air made me think I'd like to see it prove some things in the cellar. It's not hot, but it seems a bit more alcoholic than its Fonseca and Taylor siblings. Still, there's a long way to go before making a final call. As noted, this is very tight, not nearly as approachable as many 2016s are in this relatively restrained year. It won't sear your mouth with tannins—they are not TOO hard—but you are going to have to cellar it a while to allow it to acquire more complexity and more harmony. I'm not quite convinced this will ever become as attractive as Taylor and Fonseca in this vintage, though."
- Item #: i_373826Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96ROBERT PARKER 96 POINTS - "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."
As all savvy Port aficionados know, ’94 ranks as one of the very best Port years of the 20th Century. When this Dow was first released in October of 1996 Robert Parker gave it 96 Points.
- Item #: i_377816Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 90WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - " Wine Spectator - "Medium-bodied, with a fresh allure to the baked apricot, dried mango and cherry tart flavors. Long and delicate on the spice filled finish. Drink now."
WINE ENTHUSIAST 90 POINTS - " Wine Enthusiast - "A wine that is in the fresh, sweet style of 10-year-old, while balancing chocolate, cocoa and dark fig flavors. A firm structure keeps this profusion of flavors in order."
- Item #: i_325560Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 92ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS-The 1985 Dow’s Vintage Port has a gorgeous, very pure bouquet with mulberry, leather, terracotta tiles on a warm day, and hints of clove all beautifully defined. The palate is very well balanced with supple tannin, lightly spiced on the entry, touches of liquorice and black pepper, curry powder and ginger with a very harmonious and long finish. This may well be the pick of the 1985 declarations and appears to have edged past the Taylor Fladgate 1985 in recent years. Tasted at the "Big Fortified Tasting" in London."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - " A fine, classic Dow nose with notes of cloves, raisin and a touch of fig. Not incredibly complex but refined and inviting. The palate is sweet and fleshy, again cloves, red-berried fruit, a touch of spice and dates towards the finish. Moderate weight, certainly not an imposing, alcoholic Dow, but refined with great elegance and refinement. Drink now-2035."
One the great values from this outstanding vintage. Chris Kissack writes - "A great color, and a gentle nose of maturity. An elegantly composed palate although it still shows quite a little extract, tannin and even a little spirit. Nevertheless it has a very admirable structure, and a supple style that makes it easy to drink now if one appreciates impact and substance in Port. But it should be good for a few years yet, and will evolve but not change much in terms of the pleasure it gives I think. 18+/20 Points. -November 2007. Sourced straight from the producer."
- Item #: i_325580Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 90WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - "Delicate, with a lively array of bright dried mango, date and dried apricot flavors that feature plenty of smoky notes. Features white chocolate, fruitcake and honey notes on the rich finish. Drink now. 5,000 cases made."
INTERNATIONAL WINE CELLAR 90 POINTS - " International Wine Cellar - "Complex aromas of toffee, roasted nuts, lead pencil, orange peel and caraway seed. Intensely flavored fruit is silky but nicely delineated; offers a fresh flavor of orange peel. Not at all thick, but brisk and vibrant. Finishes clean and long, with hints of smoked nuts and marzipan. This has far stronger material than the 10-Year-Old, which seemed clumsy and dull in comparison."
- Item #: i_374614Bottle Size: 750mlJAMES SUCKLING 96 POINTS-"Aromas of blueberries, blackberries and dried flowers plus hints of slate follow through to a full body, very fine tannins and a driven and linear finish. Orange peel and dried fruit. Sleek and racy. Ready to try in 2024."
- Item #: i_373043Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 92WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - "Rich, smooth and polished, with an array of dried apricot, pearand guava notes that are accented by plenty of apple woodsmoke notes. The lush finish surges with mineral, along with hintsof peat and ginger cream. Drink now." 2010
WINE ENTHUSIAST 93 POINTS - " Always great, this is softer, less intense than in the past. But there is still great richness, and power as well as smoothness, burnt caramel blending well with the spirit, and finishing with its inimitable fresh acidity." 2007
- Item #: i_352332Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93Wine Spectator: 95WINE SPECTATOR 95 POINTS - "Gorgeous vibrant and grapey, with good cut to the luscious dark fruit and cedar flavors that are flanked by zesty acidity and tannins. A touch brooding midpalate, with a minerally rush and a finish of slate and iron. Best from 2016 through 2036."
- Item #: i_328110Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 90WINE & SPIRITS 91 POINTS "Fruit interprets the alcohol in this wine with the orange-citrus scent of rum cake. Then Douro schist cuts the sweetness and strengthens the fruit presence to fuller pear, hazelnut and wildflower honey notes. It ends on a long, peppery buzz, delicious and satisfying."
WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - " Wine Spectator - "Refined, with bright flavors of dried berry, plum compote and cherry tart that are long and lush. Very creamy on the finish, which features chocolate mousse."
- Item #: i_328070Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 95WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - "A hard, take-no-prisoners Port, extremely powerful and still closed when last tasted. Deep inky color, with concentrated blackberry and raisin aromas, full-bodied, with massive raisin flavors, a superb backbone and a very long finish."
- Item #: i_327940Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 94WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - " Wine Spectator - "Intense, powerful and complex, this features heady aromas and flavors of toffee, marzipan, butterscotch and chocolate. Notes of mocha and French roast chime in as well, with a long, glorious finish of dried white fruits and spice."
WINE ENTHUSIAST 94 POINTS - " - "This gorgeous Port is at the perfect stage where there are still freshness and hints of orange and dried fruit, while the wood aging is concentrating the wine into its essence."
- Item #: i_376444Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 97-99NEAL MARTIN 96 POINTS-The 2016 Fonseca Vintage Port began to be picked on 21 September at their Panascal vineyard, their Quinta do Cruzeira vineyard not picked until 6 October. It is deep, almost inky in colour. The bouquet is very intense with luscious black fruit laced with embers, clove and hints of bay leaf. There is wonderful purity here and a broodiness that suggests you'd better be patient. The palate is sweet and lively on the entry with some gorgeous ginger and curry leaf notes littered over the compact black fruit. There is wonderful density to this Fonseca. It is like a coiled spring with so much energy towards the finish that you just know this will be a long-term prospect. Superb. Production is 4,900 cases.
WINE ADVOCATE 96-98 POINTS-The 2016 Vintage Port is a field blend that was not quite bottled when seen (set for a week later), but it was the final blend. It was aged for 20 months in wood and comes in with 99 grams of residual sugar. This Fonseca is remarkably expressive, lifted and gloriously fresh. It has good concentration but some years have had more and seemed sexier. However, the most notable feature is the structure. It is very impressive in structure, that classic Port power and firmness coming to the fore and overshadowing the rest at the moment. This is very tight and very unevolved. Don't even think of buying it if you aren't prepared to cellar it. The 2030 start date that I have will not be even close to late enough if you want harmony and complexity. To me, this is the best of the three 2016s from the Fladgate Group this issue (Croft and Taylor being the other two), thanks to its pure intensity, but time will tell if it becomes as sexy as I'm sure Taylor's will be. In the meanwhile, Fonseca looks like one of the greats of this vintage."
- Item #: i_305310Bottle Size: 750MLWINE SPECTATOR 100 POINTS-"Hold on to your hat. This is the best Fonseca since 1977, and it's probably even better than that classic vintage--more like the breathtaking 1948. Mind-blowing, with masses of color, aroma and fruit flavor. Smells like fermenting berries, boasting loads of crushed grape, violet and berry character. Big, full-bodied and very sweet, with tons of tannins and a sweet finish. Tannic and huge, it's a long-term, great Port. Best after 2012. 8,000 cases made."
WINE ADVOCATE 97 POINTS-"One of the most spectacular 1994s, this opaque purple-colored wine is an exotic, flamboyant, ostentatious port. Extremely fragrant and pungent, with a flashy display of jammy cassis, pepper, licorice, and truffles, this port is an attention-grabber. Awesomely rich, and full-bodied, with superb length, richness, and overall balance, it possesses a huge mid-palate, layers of flavor, an unctuous texture, and a blockbuster finish. Everything is in place, with the brandy and tannin well-integrated, even concealed by the masses of fruit and glycerin. This wine will drink fabulously well at age ten, but keep for up to thirty years."
- Item #: i_327920Bottle Size: 1.5LWine Advocate: 93WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - " Somewhat of a lightweight for Fonseca, but undeniably charming, this dark ruby/purple-colored wine offers a floral, exotic, flamboyant bouquet, a sweet, fleshy style, but not a great deal of weight or massiveness. Heady alcohol, sweet tannin, and a velvety texture make for a gorgeous finish. While I would have preferred to have seen more weight, structure, and intensity, this is an outstanding, albeit lighter than normal Fonseca. Anticipated maturity: now-2020."
STEPHEN TANZER'S INTERNATIONAL WINE CELLAR 93 POINTS - " Full saturated ruby. Inky, brooding aromas of syrupy black fruits and violet. Dense, thick and tactile, with superb depth of flavor and compelling juicy sweetness. Finishes with powerful tannins and superb grip. Not as flamboyantly aromatic as this wine normally is in its youth, but structured for long, slow development in bottle."
- Item #: i_328160Bottle Size: 750MLA full, dry white port with a superb balance of ripe fruit extract, delicate acidity and elegant notes of wood aging; finishing with an attractive, refreshing crispness.
Food Pairings Fruits & Nuts Walnuts, Plums Desserts Bread Pudding, Cakes, Chocolate Cake, Chocolate, Pecan Pie
- Item #: i_331140Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 90WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - "This has a zesty, sweet floral aroma, with delicate, well-spiced flavors of apple tart, flan and cocoa powder. The plush, mouthfilling finish of cream, vanilla and raspberry is fresh and balanced. Drink now."
- Item #: i_331470Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 96WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS- "Still very dark and chewy with interesting notes of violets now showing in its deep bouquet. Plenty of development certainly lies ahead. Here is Robert Parker's take on this Titian from 1996: In a Port tasting, tasting Graham's is almost like tasting a big, rich, succulent Merlot after a group of blockbuster, tannic Cabernets. Sweeter and more obvious than many Ports, the opaque purple-colored 1994 is fruity, powerful, and rich, with an addictive hedonistic quality. It will be ready to drink in 8-10 years and keep for up to 30. As always, this is a showy, flamboyant Port that has the advantage of being slightly sweeter than other 1994s. A great Graham's."