Cellar Defenders

Anything to do with Port.
winesecretary
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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by winesecretary » 12:20 Thu 10 Sep 2020

@ rich_n - do try the Niepoort 2015 LBV. I defy you to keep your hands off it once you've tried it.

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JacobH
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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by JacobH » 16:55 Thu 10 Sep 2020

uncle tom wrote:
11:15 Thu 10 Sep 2020
Given that Graham is now the anointed crown jewel in the Symington stable, I do find it odd that the Graham LBV is still a low end filtered offering.

Logic would suggest making Cockburn their supermarket volume brand, and elevate the Graham to a superior age-worthy wine.
I thought Dow was regarded as an equal to Graham, at least since the 2011 releases? A Graham / Dow diarchy seems to make quite a lot of sense to me since their Ports are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Unlike, say, Fonseca and Taylor or Offley and Ferreira.

I suppose a strange feature of Port marketing is that the bottom and tops of the ranges can be aimed at different price-points. You also see that with Dow and Taylor and not just Graham. I guess they assume that no-one is going to say “I’m not going to buy my next case of Graham’s VP since the last bottle of LBV I had is lousy” whilst someone might read about the Dow’s VP getting 100 points and therefore thinking that their LBV might be good too?
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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by Glenn E. » 18:28 Thu 10 Sep 2020

JacobH wrote:
16:55 Thu 10 Sep 2020
uncle tom wrote:
11:15 Thu 10 Sep 2020
Given that Graham is now the anointed crown jewel in the Symington stable, I do find it odd that the Graham LBV is still a low end filtered offering.

Logic would suggest making Cockburn their supermarket volume brand, and elevate the Graham to a superior age-worthy wine.
I thought Dow was regarded as an equal to Graham, at least since the 2011 releases? A Graham / Dow diarchy seems to make quite a lot of sense to me since their Ports are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Unlike, say, Fonseca and Taylor or Offley and Ferreira.

I suppose a strange feature of Port marketing is that the bottom and tops of the ranges can be aimed at different price-points. You also see that with Dow and Taylor and not just Graham. I guess they assume that no-one is going to say “I’m not going to buy my next case of Graham’s VP since the last bottle of LBV I had is lousy” whilst someone might read about the Dow’s VP getting 100 points and therefore thinking that their LBV might be good too?
I believe that they Symingtons consider Dow, Graham, and Warre to all be co-equals, perhaps also including Cockburn. It's the market that used to focus more on Dow but is now focusing more on Graham.

For me, the first 3 are all distinctly different styles that don't really compete with one another - more different than Fonseca and Taylor, though those are also clearly different styles. I don't have enough experience with modern Cockburn to know how it fits in.
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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by nac » 18:42 Thu 10 Sep 2020

winesecretary wrote:
16:16 Tue 08 Sep 2020
@ nac - Thalabert, but of course! I have almost run through my halves of 2014, I have just taken delivery of 36 halves of 2017 purchased EP from TWS...
Always eagerly await the EP Rhone offer from TWS, and have ordered Thalabert every year since about 2000 - now just bottles, but magnums as well in the past.

It's almost too good to be a cellar defender...

I've saved the last bottle from each year I've finished up, so maybe a candidate for a non-Port tasting?

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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by uncle tom » 23:11 Thu 10 Sep 2020

I believe that they Symingtons consider Dow, Graham, and Warre to all be co-equals, perhaps also including Cockburn. It's the market that used to focus more on Dow but is now focusing more on Graham.
In casual conversation, it is not hard to detect that some scions of the Symington clan have a special place for certain brands, but there seems to be a strict law of Omerta when it comes to expressing such views in public.

Outwardly they appear a very disciplined family, and commercially successful as a result - I celebrate them for that.

But when it comes to LBV, it is very hard to discern a clear commercial strategy..
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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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by DRT » 23:42 Fri 11 Sep 2020

uncle tom wrote:
23:11 Thu 10 Sep 2020
I believe that they Symingtons consider Dow, Graham, and Warre to all be co-equals, perhaps also including Cockburn. It's the market that used to focus more on Dow but is now focusing more on Graham.
In casual conversation, it is not hard to detect that some scions of the Symington clan have a special place for certain brands, but there seems to be a strict law of Omerta when it comes to expressing such views in public.

Outwardly they appear a very disciplined family, and commercially successful as a result - I celebrate them for that.

But when it comes to LBV, it is very hard to discern a clear commercial strategy..
Really? Graham LBV is a clear mass-market opponent to Taylor and Warre Bottle Matured LBV addressing a completely different market, predominantly against "Portuguese" brands. Dow LBV is very low volume and sold through high-end retailers and doesn't really compete with the other two. Seems quite strategically sound to me.
"The first duty of Port is to be red"
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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by Andy Velebil » 23:50 Fri 11 Sep 2020

DRT wrote:
uncle tom wrote:
23:11 Thu 10 Sep 2020
I believe that they Symingtons consider Dow, Graham, and Warre to all be co-equals, perhaps also including Cockburn. It's the market that used to focus more on Dow but is now focusing more on Graham.
In casual conversation, it is not hard to detect that some scions of the Symington clan have a special place for certain brands, but there seems to be a strict law of Omerta when it comes to expressing such views in public.

Outwardly they appear a very disciplined family, and commercially successful as a result - I celebrate them for that.

But when it comes to LBV, it is very hard to discern a clear commercial strategy..
Really? Graham LBV is a clear mass-market opponent to Taylor and Warre Bottle Matured LBV addressing a completely different market, predominantly against "Portuguese" brands. Dow LBV is very low volume and sold through high-end retailers and doesn't really compete with the other two. Seems quite strategically sound to me.
Here in the states Dows and Graham’s are both filtered and typically occupy the same stores (for larger ones). But Dows is harder to get due to lower volume as mentioned. Graham’s is very easy to find normally.

Warre’s unfiltered LBV is a totally different price point and a totally different market as a result. Also much harder to find comparatively.

And to explain why it may appear certain family members prefer or favor certain brands. It’s because each member is responsible for overseeing a specific Quinta.

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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by Glenn E. » 00:06 Sat 12 Sep 2020

Andy Velebil wrote:
23:50 Fri 11 Sep 2020
And to explain why it may appear certain family members prefer or favor certain brands. It’s because each member is responsible for overseeing a specific Quinta.
Probably why I get along with Dominic so well! :lol:
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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by Andy Velebil » 00:47 Sat 12 Sep 2020

Glenn E. wrote:
Andy Velebil wrote:
23:50 Fri 11 Sep 2020
And to explain why it may appear certain family members prefer or favor certain brands. It’s because each member is responsible for overseeing a specific Quinta.
Probably why I get along with Dominic so well! :lol:
I don’t think he’s responsible for Malvedos. I think its Rupert.

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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by uncle tom » 07:07 Sat 12 Sep 2020

Really? Graham LBV is a clear mass-market opponent to Taylor and Warre Bottle Matured LBV addressing a completely different market, predominantly against "Portuguese" brands. Dow LBV is very low volume and sold through high-end retailers and doesn't really compete with the other two. Seems quite strategically sound to me.
I am certain that the Symingtons are not content for Graham to be seen simply 'as good as' Taylor. Diminishing the public impression of Taylor and placing Graham ahead of it is very much in their long term interest. Offering supermarkets a very good deal on a Cockburn LBV, conditional on them price pegging it to the Taylor, whilst also carrying a small quota of a new unfiltered Graham LBV, price pegged noticeably higher, would further that objective.

The marketing of the Warre LBVs meanwhile, is currently an exercise in chaos. With so many brands at their disposal, why on earth do they confuse matters by selling both filtered and unfiltered Warre LBV? I would knock the 'red top' filtered Warre LBVs on the head immediately. Then comes the marketing of the unfiltered Warre LBV - can anyone rationally explain why in the UK the current offering is the 2007, whilst in the US it is a mix of the 2002 and 2008?

There is a place for the Dow LBV as a T stoppered but almost unfiltered offering, and also the Smith Woodhouse as a beefy unfiltered offering for the non-supermarket trade; but the marketing of both in the UK is so patchy, there are times when neither can be found, which does not engender customer loyalty.

The Symingtons get a lot of things right, but they are really messed up when it comes to selling LBV - despite it being a very profitable product.
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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Cellar Defenders

Post by Andy Velebil » 14:52 Sat 12 Sep 2020

uncle tom wrote:
Really? Graham LBV is a clear mass-market opponent to Taylor and Warre Bottle Matured LBV addressing a completely different market, predominantly against "Portuguese" brands. Dow LBV is very low volume and sold through high-end retailers and doesn't really compete with the other two. Seems quite strategically sound to me.
I am certain that the Symingtons are not content for Graham to be seen simply 'as good as' Taylor. Diminishing the public impression of Taylor and placing Graham ahead of it is very much in their long term interest. Offering supermarkets a very good deal on a Cockburn LBV, conditional on them price pegging it to the Taylor, whilst also carrying a small quota of a new unfiltered Graham LBV, price pegged noticeably higher, would further that objective.

The marketing of the Warre LBVs meanwhile, is currently an exercise in chaos. With so many brands at their disposal, why on earth do they confuse matters by selling both filtered and unfiltered Warre LBV? I would knock the 'red top' filtered Warre LBVs on the head immediately. Then comes the marketing of the unfiltered Warre LBV - can anyone rationally explain why in the UK the current offering is the 2007, whilst in the US it is a mix of the 2002 and 2008?

There is a place for the Dow LBV as a T stoppered but almost unfiltered offering, and also the Smith Woodhouse as a beefy unfiltered offering for the non-supermarket trade; but the marketing of both in the UK is so patchy, there are times when neither can be found, which does not engender customer loyalty.

The Symingtons get a lot of things right, but they are really messed up when it comes to selling LBV - despite it being a very profitable product.
Tom
I have never seen or heard of a modern vintage unfiltered Graham’s LBV. Can you provide a pic of it? Or are you being hypothetical?

As for different vintages in different markets. That happens from time to time with many wine companies around the globe. It could be an oversupply still in one market so they skip a vintage there, it could be a low production year so they don’t ship it to certain countries (Taylors did this with the 2004 LBV in the states), or any other number of reasons.

the Symington’s are among the top handful of Port companies that have amazing marketing folks. I’m quite sure they know what they’re doing far more than you or I.

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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by JacobH » 15:43 Sat 12 Sep 2020

Before reading this thread, I hadn’t realised that Warre’s made both a filtered and unfiltered LBV. I agree with Tom that that is quite confusing since I would always assume the Warre LBV was the premium product from Symington’s LBV range and be quite disappointed if I accidentally got the unfiltered version! I also notice that they make a Warre Colheita and a Warre Otima Colheita. Again you might be a bit disappointed if you bought one thinking it was the other...

Incidentally, the most recent Smith Woodhouse LBV I tried had an unbranded cork and double foils (with only the outer being marked “Smith Woodhouse”). I assumed it was a part of a reserve which could have been offered as BoB Port and it only got labelled as Smith Woodhouse when they thought it was getting a little too old to sell for those purposes. That might explain why you only see it occasionally.

I am also surprised to see that Dow’s LBV is now a low-volume product. I remember it being sold as a loss-leader for really low prices by Tescos in the late 2000s. I think it was still cheaper than the Taylor’s and Graham’s, even when sold at full price!
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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by uncle tom » 16:50 Sat 12 Sep 2020

I have never seen or heard of a modern vintage unfiltered Graham’s LBV
Neither have I, but I do think they ought to bottle one. Maybe not bottle matured like the Warre, but supplied with a proper driven cork.
be quite disappointed if I accidentally got the unfiltered version!
I only found out about them the hard way..!
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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by Andy Velebil » 18:01 Sat 12 Sep 2020

JacobH wrote:
15:43 Sat 12 Sep 2020
Before reading this thread, I hadn’t realised that Warre’s made both a filtered and unfiltered LBV. I agree with Tom that that is quite confusing since I would always assume the Warre LBV was the premium product from Symington’s LBV range and be quite disappointed if I accidentally got the unfiltered version! I also notice that they make a Warre Colheita and a Warre Otima Colheita. Again you might be a bit disappointed if you bought one thinking it was the other...
Noval also makes their LBV in both filtered and unfiltered. It depends on the market and what they want. Also, airlines don't want something with sediment for obvious reasons. So there is a legitimate reason to make both if the market is there.
Incidentally, the most recent Smith Woodhouse LBV I tried had an unbranded cork and double foils (with only the outer being marked “Smith Woodhouse”). I assumed it was a part of a reserve which could have been offered as BoB Port and it only got labelled as Smith Woodhouse when they thought it was getting a little too old to sell for those purposes. That might explain why you only see it occasionally.
For a time the Symington's (and other producers) used the plastic foil first. IIRC, it was mainly for the bottles stored in-house for later release. I can only assume to help keep the top of the corks clean until time to apply a proper foil. To my knowledge the Sym's and most other producers have stopped the practice some years ago.

I've been seeing a lot of unbranded corks, or generically branded, lately. Sogrape does this as do some others. Not a fan of if for upper end stuff. The inexpensive stuff is ok. I get the cost savings as you can use a large cork order for a lot of different things. Just don't like it if I'm paying for a premium product.

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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by Glenn E. » 18:28 Sat 12 Sep 2020

Andy Velebil wrote:
18:01 Sat 12 Sep 2020
JacobH wrote:
15:43 Sat 12 Sep 2020
Before reading this thread, I hadn’t realised that Warre’s made both a filtered and unfiltered LBV. I agree with Tom that that is quite confusing since I would always assume the Warre LBV was the premium product from Symington’s LBV range and be quite disappointed if I accidentally got the unfiltered version! I also notice that they make a Warre Colheita and a Warre Otima Colheita. Again you might be a bit disappointed if you bought one thinking it was the other...
Noval also makes their LBV in both filtered and unfiltered. It depends on the market and what they want. Also, airlines don't want something with sediment for obvious reasons. So there is a legitimate reason to make both if the market is there.
Noval's two LBVs are clearly distinct, though, so easily separated for marketing purposes. IIRC the unfiltered is their "Single Quinta" LBV while the regular Noval is the filtered, but I may have that backwards.
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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by JacobH » 21:01 Sat 12 Sep 2020

Glenn E. wrote:
18:28 Sat 12 Sep 2020
Noval's two LBVs are clearly distinct, though, so easily separated for marketing purposes. IIRC the unfiltered is their "Single Quinta" LBV while the regular Noval is the filtered, but I may have that backwards.
That's the right way round but I'm not sure calling one "Quinta do Noval" and the other "Noval" makes them clearly distinct for the average consumer!
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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by Glenn E. » 21:46 Sat 12 Sep 2020

JacobH wrote:
21:01 Sat 12 Sep 2020
Glenn E. wrote:
18:28 Sat 12 Sep 2020
Noval's two LBVs are clearly distinct, though, so easily separated for marketing purposes. IIRC the unfiltered is their "Single Quinta" LBV while the regular Noval is the filtered, but I may have that backwards.
That's the right way round but I'm not sure calling one "Quinta do Noval" and the other "Noval" makes them clearly distinct for the average consumer!
The Quinta do Noval LBV also says rather clearly "Single Quinta" on the label as I recall, and right under that also says "Unfiltered" fairly prominently.
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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by nac » 21:58 Sat 12 Sep 2020

winesecretary wrote:
16:16 Tue 08 Sep 2020
@ nac - Thalabert, but of course! I have almost run through my halves of 2014, I have just taken delivery of 36 halves of 2017 purchased EP from TWS...
Another excellent non-Port cellar defender (also from The Wine Society) is Chateau Beaumont.
Regularly buy a couple of cases of halves, and had a 2010 this evening.

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Re: RE: Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by JacobH » 22:25 Sat 12 Sep 2020

Glenn E. wrote:
JacobH wrote:
21:01 Sat 12 Sep 2020
Glenn E. wrote:
18:28 Sat 12 Sep 2020
Noval's two LBVs are clearly distinct, though, so easily separated for marketing purposes. IIRC the unfiltered is their "Single Quinta" LBV while the regular Noval is the filtered, but I may have that backwards.
That's the right way round but I'm not sure calling one "Quinta do Noval" and the other "Noval" makes them clearly distinct for the average consumer!
The Quinta do Noval LBV also says rather clearly "Single Quinta" on the label as I recall, and right under that also says "Unfiltered" fairly prominently.
I completely accept that the unfiltered one is clear about what it is, it's just that if you saw the filtered one in a shop and didn't know that QdN produced two versions you might not know that the absence of the words meant it was something much lesser than what you are used to drinking!

I appreciate this is a very subtle complaint but to my mind it is skirting pretty close to the edge of what should be allowed without being misleading. Especially as it is not at all clear from QdN's marketing that some of their wines are blends from other vineyards.

Grahams also did this for a while with the "Quinta dos Malvedos" (a SQVP) v. "Graham's Malvedos" (a blend), although I accept this is less of an issue since they never (to my knowledge) produced both at the same time.


[Edit : typo]
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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by winesecretary » 22:40 Sat 12 Sep 2020

@ nac - Chateau Beaumont - yes it is! Especially in 2010.

1/36th of my remaining stock of 2009 Chateau Brown Lamartine bit the dust this evening. An admirable middleweight claret for a roast chicken. It has failed as a cellar defender, however, as we appear to be consuming a half of 1980 Gould Campbell now. This has a deliciously figgy quality - remarkably reminiscent of that vanished sweetmeat, the Batgers Chinese Fig.

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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by Andy Velebil » 23:21 Sat 12 Sep 2020

JacobH wrote:
Glenn E. wrote:
JacobH wrote:
21:01 Sat 12 Sep 2020
Glenn E. wrote:
18:28 Sat 12 Sep 2020
Noval's two LBVs are clearly distinct, though, so easily separated for marketing purposes. IIRC the unfiltered is their "Single Quinta" LBV while the regular Noval is the filtered, but I may have that backwards.
That's the right way round but I'm not sure calling one "Quinta do Noval" and the other "Noval" makes them clearly distinct for the average consumer!
The Quinta do Noval LBV also says rather clearly "Single Quinta" on the label as I recall, and right under that also says "Unfiltered" fairly prominently.
I completely accept that the unfiltered one is clear about what it is, it's just that if you saw the filtered one in a shop and didn't know that QdN produced two versions you might not know that the absence of the words meant it was something much lesser than what you are used to drinking!

I appreciate this is a very subtle complaint but to my mind it is skirting pretty close to the edge of what should be allowed without being misleading. Especially as it is not at all clear from QdN's marketing that some of their wines are blends from other vineyards.

Grahams also did this for a while with the "Quinta dos Malvedos" (a SQVP) v. "Graham's Malvedos" (a blend), although I accept this is less of an issue since they never (to my knowledge) produced both at the same time.


[Edit : typo]
Malvedos Vs Quinta dos Malvedos was a legal issue. They couldn’t call it “Quinta dos” because not all the grapes came Malvedos, but from several adjoining Quinta’s. Over time those Quintas were acquired and incorporated into Quinta dos Malvedos. When those acquisitions were done they could then call it Quinta dos Malvedos, hence the name change with the 1999 vintage.

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Re: RE: Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by Glenn E. » 23:42 Sat 12 Sep 2020

JacobH wrote:
22:25 Sat 12 Sep 2020
Glenn E. wrote:
JacobH wrote:
21:01 Sat 12 Sep 2020
Glenn E. wrote:
18:28 Sat 12 Sep 2020
Noval's two LBVs are clearly distinct, though, so easily separated for marketing purposes. IIRC the unfiltered is their "Single Quinta" LBV while the regular Noval is the filtered, but I may have that backwards.
That's the right way round but I'm not sure calling one "Quinta do Noval" and the other "Noval" makes them clearly distinct for the average consumer!
The Quinta do Noval LBV also says rather clearly "Single Quinta" on the label as I recall, and right under that also says "Unfiltered" fairly prominently.
I completely accept that the unfiltered one is clear about what it is, it's just that if you saw the filtered one in a shop and didn't know that QdN produced two versions you might not know that the absence of the words meant it was something much lesser than what you are used to drinking!

I appreciate this is a very subtle complaint but to my mind it is skirting pretty close to the edge of what should be allowed without being misleading. Especially as it is not at all clear from QdN's marketing that some of their wines are blends from other vineyards.
This is true for every filtered LBV, though, as there is no requirement for anyone to identify filtered LBVs. In fact, using "unfiltered" on the label is also not a requirement - it is simply allowed if your Port qualifies. So if you see an LBV that says nothing, you don't actually know for certain that it is filtered, it's just extremely likely. (Because if your LBV qualifies as unfiltered, why wouldn't you identify it as such?)

Also their Single Quinta LBV is significantly rarer, so if there were going to be confusion in the marketplace I suspect it would be the other way around. People would assume that the Single Quinta was the same as the regular Noval and not realize that it's a theoretically higher-grade product.
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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by JacobH » 09:43 Mon 14 Sep 2020

Andy Velebil wrote:
18:01 Sat 12 Sep 2020
For a time the Symington's (and other producers) used the plastic foil first. IIRC, it was mainly for the bottles stored in-house for later release. I can only assume to help keep the top of the corks clean until time to apply a proper foil. To my knowledge the Sym's and most other producers have stopped the practice some years ago.

I've been seeing a lot of unbranded corks, or generically branded, lately. Sogrape does this as do some others. Not a fan of if for upper end stuff. The inexpensive stuff is ok. I get the cost savings as you can use a large cork order for a lot of different things. Just don't like it if I'm paying for a premium product.
Sorry: perhaps I wasn’t being clear. The plastic foil and the cork were both branded with the year and “LBV” but not the shipper’s name. It seemed to me that probably meant they were hedging their bets under which brand it would be released (potentially including selling it to be released as a BoB Port).

I’m pretty sure I’ve read about completely plain corks being used because the branded ones didn’t arrive in time for the bottling, too!
Glenn E. wrote:
23:42 Sat 12 Sep 2020
This is true for every filtered LBV, though, as there is no requirement for anyone to identify filtered LBVs. In fact, using "unfiltered" on the label is also not a requirement - it is simply allowed if your Port qualifies. So if you see an LBV that says nothing, you don't actually know for certain that it is filtered, it's just extremely likely. (Because if your LBV qualifies as unfiltered, why wouldn't you identify it as such?)
Sure. I can accept this for anyone who produces just one LBV. Although a quick straw poll suggests that a surprising number of producers of unfiltered LBV have relegated that fact to a small note, sometimes on the back of the label! I just think if you do produce both filtered and unfiltered LBV (which I think is just Warre and Noval, unless anyone can come up with another example) then the filtered ought to be clearly marked to avoid someone buying it, expecting the better wine. Something like “read to drink”.
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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by Andy Velebil » 13:47 Mon 14 Sep 2020

This thread has gone all over...

Has anyone bought what was intended to be a cellar defender then gotten them home, opened one and then went, “Shoot, this is way better than I thought and too young to drink right now.”?

I recently bought, cheaply at auction, a case of ‘95 Cavadinha to use as a house VP and realized it was too good to be a CD and I should stick it away for another decade or two or more. Now I need to find some thing else to fill it’s place. Ugh!

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Re: Cellar Defenders

Post by uncle tom » 14:01 Mon 14 Sep 2020

Has anyone bought what was intended to be a cellar defender then gotten them home, opened one and then went, “Shoot, this is way better than I thought and too young to drink right now.”?
12 years ago I picked up a half case of Quarles Harris '77 very cheaply, with casual quaffing in mind - I soon realised that this was a wine to stock up on and lay down, and bought another two cases..
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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