The LBV dilemma

Anything to do with Port.
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uncle tom
Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
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The LBV dilemma

Post by uncle tom » 15:08 Thu 28 Nov 2019

There used to be a mantra that an LBV with a driven cork was age-worthy and one with T stopper had been filtered and fined to an extent that made good aging unlikely.

Then Croft messed things up by offering an unfiltered LBV with a T-stopper..

To be fair, my own researches are indicating that T-stoppers can make a much better and enduring seal than they are usually credited with, although a T-stoppered bottle stored upright for twenty years or more is very prone to separation of the cap and cork when you try to open it.

T-stoppered bottles stored on their sides however can actually ullage more slowly than a driven cork when young, and failure is infrequent, even after several decades.

However, which LBVs - T-stoppered or not - are age-worthy?

My experience of older Graham LBVs suggests that this is the least age-able of the major brands. The other major supermarket player, Taylor, seems to improve for around a decade or so after release before starting to go south.

But what of the others? Perhaps the best clue from younger bottlings is the amount of sediment thrown. Although this can vary season to season, a good deposit of sediment a decade after bottling is as good an indicator as any that the wine did not receive much processing prior to bottling.

I have recently opened a Dow 2006 LBV which had a heavy sediment, suggesting that this scion of the Symington empire has a very different approach to LBV than Graham. Warre, rather confusingly, bottles red label LBV with a T-stopper for early release and an aged blue label version with driven cork for late release.

Older Cockburn LBVs are not great and have little sediment, strongly suggesting filtration, but what is the current policy now they are under the Symingtons?

And what of the others? Please report..!
I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I shall be sober and you will still be ugly - W.S. Churchill

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AHB
Fonseca 1963
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Re: The LBV dilemma

Post by AHB » 17:21 Thu 28 Nov 2019

I don't general buy Fonseca, Croft, Cockburn, Graham, Taylor, Dow or Warre (red label) LBVs to age. These may say "unfiltered" on the label, but that is not the same as saying "not cold stabilized and fined before bottling". But a decade or two of bottle age does these no harm and nicely rounds off some of the sharper and more acidic corners these have when first bottled. I recently drank a Fonseca 2001 which was lovely and smooth and still enjoy a small stash of the Croft 2004 LBV in halves which we cleared off Tesco's shelves in 2009. These are sealed with t-stoppers.

I do buy other LBV ports with the intention of aging them. I'm currently aging LBV Ports from Bulas (2013), Dalva (2011), Duorum (2007, 2010), Krohn (2012), Lamelas (2013), Niepoort (2000, 2013), Noval (2005), Pedra Alta (2005), Quevedo (2003), Sandeman (2000-2014), Smith Woodhouse (1982, 1986), Vieira de Souza (1981) and Warre (1969-2004). The Sogrape LBVs are very age worthy and should be cellared as it they were mid-grade Vintage Ports.
Top Ports in 2019: Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
Top Ports in 2020 (so far): Croft 1945 and Niepoort VV (1960s bottling)

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uncle tom
Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
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Joined: 23:43 Wed 20 Jun 2007
Location: Near Saffron Walden, England

Re: The LBV dilemma

Post by uncle tom » 10:44 Sat 30 Nov 2019

The Sogrape LBVs are very age worthy and should be cellared as it they were mid-grade Vintage Ports.
At the BFT this year, Sandeman confirmed that their LBVs were unfiltered. The pre-release 2015 sample they showed there was very impressive and has just begun to appear on the market - I shall be laying down a dozen.
I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I shall be sober and you will still be ugly - W.S. Churchill

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