Why is it that I have never had a corked Port or one that has suffered from volatile acidity? It may lie with the IDVP the body that regulates Douro wines. The quality control process is rigid and thorough and I have seen these people evaluating and tasting Ports and wines with an incredible thoroughness in a quality control laboratory. Or could it be the producers themselves fearing a no go from the IDVP? Whatever it is I have yet to encounter a faulty Port or Douro wine in the 12 years I have been tasting Douro wine and Ports.
So what about the Graham’s 2015 LBV Port? Graham’s has been producing Port for over 200 years. Obviously, they have a bit of experience under their belts. LBV’s come from a single vintage and are aged in the barrel for 4-6 years before being bottled. LBV’s are of outstanding quality but not as lush or decadent as Vintage Ports. But they are more affordable and for the casual drinker of Port the difference between an LBV and a Vintage Port is razor thin. For this razor edge an LBV can cost under $25 but a Vintage Port can cost you in the three figures. But Vintage Ports can last forever. I have had an 1867 Vintage Port and it still had many years left to it. Vintage Ports may be for your grandchildren but LBV’s are for you now! LBV’s may be the best for the here and now. Vintage Ports that I have are for the next generation and they are so marked in my cellar.
Four estates were used to source the grapes for this LBV. It should be served at 16-18 degrees and a chill will reduce the alcohol on the palate and necessary to balance the acidity with the sweetness. It pairs very well with chocolate and old blue cheese and matches game well.
A nose of dense blueberry, black cherry and cassis. On the palate at 20% if properly chilled is unnoticeable. A wickedly delicious combination of blueberry pie and chocolate covered cherries. I may be on the outside of Port combinations and say this would suit duck, Portuguese ox or Canadian beef.
As a French marketer I met on my first Port Wine Day in Porto said Port is luxury at a discount price. Such truer words have remained with me and just try this LBV and you’ll be convinced. Don’t be deterred by the snobby and incorrect notion this Port is for old British men sitting in a London club. It is here and now and absolutely brilliant. If this LBV doesn’t win you over I’ll eat my shirt. And at $16.25 I am stunned as they are giving away the crown jewels.
(Graham’s 2015 Late Bottled Vintage Port, Symington Family Estates, Villa Nova d. Gaia, Portugal, $ 16.25, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 191239, 750 mL, 20%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating, 94/100).