Review: Dow’s 2012 Late Bottled Vintage Porto

Our exploration and appreciate of Port wines continues. Recently we reviewed a Reserve Port, that we enjoyed as the late summer evenings started to cool. That one was a non-vintage, as most Ports are. Yet many Port makers also produce a Late Bottled Vintage, or LBV Port. As luck would have it, not long ago, we received a sample bottle of Dow’s 2012 LBV Porto for tasting and review.


When I posted a picture of the bottle on Instagram, one of the most common questions I received is: “what does it mean to be ‘Late Bottled?’” Frankly, I wasn’t sure myself, so I consulted my trusty wine research expert…Google. According to Wine Enthusiast magazine, the official definition is “a ruby Port from a single year, chosen for its high quality and bottled after aging for four to six years in wood.” So LBV is a high quality Port, vinted from a single year’s harvest, and aged prior to release. As such, they are ready to drink upon release and do not require additional aging to be enjoyed.

Dow’s Port house has been in operation since 1798. Unlike most Port merchants, who exported their products to the thirsty masses, founder Bruno da Silva emigrated to England and set up shop importing his wines from Portugal. He assimilated into London society, marrying an Englishwoman, and established a thriving business. During the Napoleonic wars, da Silva was granted permission to arm his merchant ships, and thus became the first and only Port producer to ship its wines under their own armed protection.

da Silva’s son, John, took over the business, and through several partnerships and mergers – including one with George Acheson Warre, of Warre’s Port, built the success and reputation of the company. In 1877, John and his partners merged with Dow & Co. Although Dow & Co. was smaller they had built a strong reputation with quality vintage ports, so the decision was made to use the Dow name, and Dow’s Port brand was established. Since 1961, Dow’s has been a part of the Symingtons Family of Port producers.

Now that you know the story, let’s find out about the wine. Many Port houses release LBV every year, but Dow’s only produces LBV Porto in the best vintages. With the bar set with high expectations, what did we think

The following wine was provided as a media sample for review. All review, descriptions, and opinions are our own. We received no additional compensation.


Deep, inky purple. Aromas of bramble, blackberry, vanilla, and smoke. Flavors of ripe blackberry, black cherry, mocha, caramel, vanilla, and smoke. Mellow, smooth, and soft, with a luscious, round mouthfeel. Long, dry, smoky finish with black fruit. Less chocolate than many ports, and distinctive in its drier profile. Definitely a dessert wine, but not as sweet as others. Elegance in a bottle.

With an SRP of $24.00, and available at major retailers for less, you owe it to yourself to grab a bottle, settle into your favorite, comfortable chair, and enjoy a glass.


  • By Kent Reynolds
  • Artistic and content inspiration by Robyn Raphael

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8 thoughts on “Review: Dow’s 2012 Late Bottled Vintage Porto

  1. […] for Wine reviews Dow’s 2012 Late Bottled Vintage […]


  2. topochinesvino October 25, 2018 at 11:49 am Reply

    Great post Kent! The price on this is almost too good to pass up!


  3. Ian Abrahams Bristol Wine Blog October 26, 2018 at 1:03 am Reply

    I also love Tawny Ports – they spend longer in oak barrels to give a soft, mellow taste often with flavours of dried fruits. A ’10 year old’ Tawny is my favourite; Dow’s do a great example if you can seek it out. Happy drinking

    Liked by 2 people

    • Appetite for Wine October 26, 2018 at 7:50 am Reply

      Thanks for the suggestion, Ian. I do enjoy a nice Tawny as well. I’ll look for the Dow’s. Cheers!


  4. Lynn October 31, 2018 at 1:56 am Reply

    Nice to hear about this Dow. Now that you’ve tried an LBV do you have a favorite style port? For me it’s what I’m in the mood for but I’ll not turn down any! Heading to Porto next week and will look for this bottle to try- cheers!


    • Appetite for Wine October 31, 2018 at 6:41 am Reply

      Like you, it depends on the circumstances. Generally I enjoy a good ruby, but on occasion an LBV or Tawny fits.


  5. […] Appetite for Wine […]


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