According to the Taylor Fladgate website, this style accounts for over a quarter of all port sales in Canada – and 20% of all port purchases in the United Kingdom. The reason it’s so popular lies in the fact that it is a reasonably priced and yet high quality alternative to what can be terribly pricey Vintage Port.
Vintage Ports are casked for 20 months before being transferred to bottles for further ageing. However, LBVs are bottled later and usually remain in wood for somewhere between 4-6 years (5 in this particular case). When the time has passed, this fortified wine is ready to drink and doesn’t need to be decanted (unlike Vintage Ports).
So, essentially one gets the benefit of a Vintage quality port, but in much less time than a Vintage will take to age. The drawback to an LBV is that it will have been filtered – and as any cork dork knows, that can strip wines of character and flavour.
We didn’t notice any lack of flavour, concentration, integration or balance in this wine though. Clear and bright, deep ruby with heavy legs, it is clean on the nose and developed with pronounced aromas of tobacco, dark chocolate, blackberry vine and cassis.
On the palate the wine is medium sweet with medium acidity and grippy tannins. It has medium fortification and pronounced intense flavours of tobacco, vine, cassis, currant and dried fruit. The finish is medium plus.
WSET ‘very good’, it was enjoyed as part of my celebratory ‘I-got-pass-with-merit-on-the-WSET-Fortifieds-exam with an array of dark chocolate and sweet Italian nougat.
Any excuse for port is a good one in my books.