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Wine Geek Recommended
Meet the CoolVines Wine Geek! He’ll guide you toward – or away from! – wines that have a unique flavor profile: intentionally oxidized wines, earthy, stinky wines, wines with a bit of fritz on the tongue. Look for him throughout our web site, and on the shelves in our stores, to point the way toward these geeky wines.
This wine comes from the Symington family’s Douro Valley vineyards in Northern Portugal, and in particular from those which traditionally supply the House of Dow’s, one of the family’s premier Port marques. For many years, the Vale do Bomfim red wine was made by the family solely for their own enjoyment and to serve to visiting guests, whose repeated complimentary remarks and encouragement, led to the wine’s launch commercially. First offered in the US market, where it has consistently received very favourable reviews, the Vale do Bomfim is being offered in a growing number of other countries.
Whilst the majority of Port is now made with modern methods using state-of-the-art vinification technology, a small proportion is still produced by the time-honoured method of treading. Dow’s continues to make some of its Port by treading in stone ‘lagares’ (shallow treading tanks). The Upper Douro is one of the last places in the world where traditional treading has been maintained. This is not done to entertain visitors but quite simply because it continues to produce some of the best Ports. However, the old lagares require manpower, an increasingly scarce resource in the Upper Douro and temperature control is difficult. In order to address these problems, Dow’s winemaking team developed the world’s first purpose built automated treading machine.
Over the centuries, the Dow winemakers have evolved a style that suits the house’s key vineyards; fermentations are a little longer, resulting in drier Port Wine that has become a hallmark. Abundant fruit flavours with hints of ripe blackberries, give elegance and poise to Dow’s. The very high percentage of Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional planted on the vineyards result in the powerful structure and aging potential of Dow’s Vintage Ports.
Dow’s Ports tend to avoid an over-rich style - these wines are aged in seasoned oak casks for some 18 months and are bottled without any filtration or fining whatsoever.
They can be enjoyed when vibrant and young, or be allowed to age for many years in bottle into a soft and delicate wine of velvet-like elegance.
Long summers, brutally hot temperatures, and steep hillsides that range from thirty five to seventy degrees of inclination are what awaits the brave souls who decided to grow grapes and craft wine in this part of the world. As Karen McNeil summarizes "that vineyards are planted in the Douro is a testament to human will, for this is one of the most unmerciful environments in which grapes manage to grow." Many winemakers will often comment that the more the grape vines have to struggle, the better character the wine will display. Wines from the Douro have an awful lot of character!
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