A superb one-off from Dow

Dow, Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira 2005 **** / *****

This wine was produced in a hot, drought-afflicted year and is a blend of very low yielding vinha velha (75%) and late ripening Touriga Franca (a vineyard planted just four years earlier in 2001). The old vines produced an average of just 0.87kg per vine, which helps to account for the voluptuous concentration in this wine. It was mostly made in robotic lagares with 35% foot trodden in the time-honoured manner. Purchased from the Wine Society (£45/bottle), I showed it to students at Leith’s School of Food and Wine who were all suitably impressed: still deep, opaque and youthful in colour; open and magnificently opulent, fragrant aromas, super-ripe morello cherry and creamy cassis fruit; similarly super-rich and opulent on the palate combining breadth and depth, spicy tannic structure rising onto a long ripe, broad finish. A wow of a wine, wonderful to drink now but even better with another five years in bottle. Properly cellared, it will keep happily for another twenty years after that. 18.5         


Location: Leith's School of Food and Wine, London


19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)

17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)

15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)

13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)

10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)

8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)

Below 8 Faulty