Wine Advocate 94 points - An opaque blue/purple color (typical of this vintage’s top offerings) is followed by a strikingly provocative aromatic display (flowers, licorice, blackberries, and cassis). This firmly-structured, classic, tightly-knit, restrained port exhibits brilliant purity as well as impressive intensity. While not the most dramatic or flamboyant, it is a beautiful, classically structured port that will age gracefully. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2030. (Oct 2002)
Wine Spectator 93 points - Very grapey, with lots of black licorice and blackberry character. Full-bodied, with ultrafine tannins and a long, exquisite finish. Refined and well-made. Best after 2012. 9,000 cases made. (JS) (May 15 2003)
Vintage Port is the outstanding wine of an outstanding year. Perhaps on average only three times in a decade is the weather suitable for the declaration of a Vintage year and only a small handful of vineyards in the Alto Douro produce wines of the potential to become Vintage Port.
The wine is aged for two to two and a half years in wood before being bottled, unfiltered. The pride of every shipper, Vintage Port can be purchased at once and allowed, over many years, to mature and develop a unique character, completely different from all wood-aged Port.
Dow’s is perhaps best known for its Vintages, which command high prices at auction, reflecting their excellence.