WINE REVIEW: Taylor Fladgate 2015 Late Bottled Vintage Porto, Portugal ($22)
by Andrew Chalk
The finest expression of Port, the fortified wine from Portugal that sells the world over, is vintage port. However, it takes a long time to mature (10-20 years), and the price can be high. Enter the popularly-priced alternative that is ready to drink the day you buy it - Late Bottled Vintage Port (LBV).
The character is very similar to Vintage port. The difference in producing it is that whereas Vintage Port is aged in barrels for two years, LBV is aged in barrels for four to six years. At the end of its barrel ageing each expression is bottled. The extra time in barrel allows more oxygen to reach the LBV, causing it to mature more quickly. Although the results do not reach the exalted tasting heights of Vintage port, they do get close enough that LBV has become the most popular style of port in England and Canada, and growing in the USA.
The original LBV was invented by Alistair Robertson, of port house Taylor Fladgate (he is the current Chairman). It has inspired many copiers (every port house seems to have one nowadays) but this wine is the original and can justifiably call itself the benchmark.
It is classic in color. One thousand mile deep, opaque ruby. Nose of blackcurrant and black cherry, perfectly synchronized, enhanced with notes of licorice and molasses. In the mouth powerful fragrant fruit coats the mouth and leaves a long, luxuriant finish.
In Europe, the meal is finished with a small glass of port that guests sip on for 30 minutes and engage in the ancient practice of conversation. Give it a try, it might be something you like.