LGTrotter wrote: Andy Velebil wrote:
LGTrotter wrote:Well put. This is the nub for me; good LBVs are simply vintage ports which have been left in the barrel for a few years longer. Saintsbury's favourite port was one that had been in barrel for seven years (I think) and as you say the quality of the more recent LBVs are splendid and I fancy they will keep well.
I would disagree with that statement.
Go on. I can handle honest criticism.
I think it's a simplistic view of LBV's (speaking of unfiltered ones only, I think we can agree that filtered LBV's are their own thing in regards to this discussion).
When you look at some producers who's LBV's are better than their VP's you have to understand that those producers are often selling their best grapes to other producers to use or diverting them to other uses such as table wines or a different type of Port. So their lesser grapes are then focused on making a fantastic LBV. VP production is still done, as one really has to to be perceived as a "real" producer, but they aren't trying to be a leader in VP's as that is not their main focus. Crasto is a really good example of this.
Most producers aren't specifically earmarking their very best VP grapes, only to waste all that time and money on turning it into an LBV if they don't have to. That is not to say that those grapes that don't make the top cut aren't declassified or even some of the best grapes actually be diverted to LBV production due to excess once enough VP is produced. The classic example that happens in almost every upper end winery in the world is when, for example, you use three different varietals to make your wine. You've got 100 tons of each, 300 tons total. But your blend that year is 70% "A" grapes, 20% "B" grapes, and 10% "C" grapes. You've now got 30/80/90 tons of each grape leftover. Deduct stuff that doesn't cut it...After aging and testing and tasting, some of that won't be of the quality you want to use in your top wine. So lets say you're now down to 00/50/70 tons left. You have no more top cut "A" grapes so you can't make more of your top wine. That doesn't mean you are out of "A/B/C" grapes, you still have 30/80/90 tons left if you didn't sell it off, but some of its not top quality you want so you can't keep making more top wine. What do you do? You could sell some or all of it off or you simply "declassify" it and make a second label/tier wine. One with a slightly different blend, or even the same blend, that is still very good but not up to the standards or style of the top wine.
Port also has other issues with regards to Beneficio that may play into what a producer makes or buys each year. And market demand and what stocks they need to replenish or bottle for a specific customer. And years that are good but not great where a VP or even an SQVP is not produced or produced in very small amounts leaving a lot of decent grapes left over. These things and more make it a very complicated issue that can't be summed up by saying LBV is simply VP left in barrel longer.