Taylor Fladgate were pioneers of the LBV category, developed to satisfy the demand for a high quality ready-to-drink alternative to Vintage Port for everyday consumption. Unlike Vintage Port, which is bottled after only two years in wood and ages in bottle, LBV is bottled after four to six years and is ready to drink when bottled.
Taylor Fladgate continues to lead the LBV category of Port worldwide, in spite of the fact that many other shippers now also produce an LBV. The wines used to blend Taylor Fladgate’s LBV were drawn from a reserve of some of the best full bodied red Ports, produced at the 2017 harvest, from grapes grown on Taylor Fladgate’s own vineyards and on other top properties in the Cima Corgo and Douro Superior areas.
Dense ruby black centre with a narrow brick rim and cerise highlights on the edge. The essence of this superb LBV is the fine red berry and stone fruit character, wonderfully fresh and vibrant, which bursts immediately from the glass. Raspberry, cherry and red plum, subtly infused with richer notes of blackcurrant and liquorice, dominate the nose. Cedary, minty notes and a discreet redolence of violets give the wine a seductive scented dimension. The fine fruit character reappears on the palate which is dense and chewy, the firm slightly austere tannins giving the wine its typically Taylor combination of stamina and restraint. The finish is impressively long and vigorous, with rich dark chocolate flavours adding a touch of lusciousness and opulence to the intense berry fruit. This is an outstanding LBV, full of verve and confidence, displaying the fine fruit quality which is a keynote of the Taylor style.
Notes on the Viticultural Year and Harvest
Following a wet 2016, the year started with cold and dry winter conditions, with a fifth less rainfall than the thirty-year average. Bud burst occurred relatively early, around 10th March. The dry conditions continued into Spring and the warm weather in April and May encouraged the rapid growth of the vines. The first three weeks of June were extremely hot, causing damage to the new bunches in some areas of the Douro. The early cycle continued with véraison around 18th June, one month earlier than the previous year. Apart from some thunderstorms and rainfall early in July, conditions remained dry until the end of September although temperatures for much of the ripening season were moderate. As expected, the crop ripened very early, showing high sugar levels which led to longer fermentations and very effective colour extraction.
Picking started at Taylor Fladgate’s Quinta de Vargellas on 1st September, the earliest in a generation. The last time picking was recorded as having started this early was in 1945 – one of the greatest of the 20th century vintages - when the first fruit was picked on 3rd September. Temperatures at harvest time were mild, with cool nights, leading to balanced fermentations and excellent extraction. The musts were dense and marked by exceptional depth of colour and impressive phenolics.