The SOMM Journal

April / May 2015

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Page 68 of 112

68 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } APRIL/MAY 2015 { special section: port } VINTAGE PORT IS BEST. THIS IS A NO-BRAINER. But one of the biggest misconcep- tions out there is that vintage Port can stay fresh for months. This is not the case at all. Vintage ports spend less than two years in barrel then go straight to bottle, where they may rest as long as 70 years. Once opened, they rapidly devour oxygen to the point of total oxidation in a very short time. Vintage Ports that are 15+ years old have a shelf life of 48 hours at best; younger vintage Ports can last up to two weeks. So what's a somm to do? Offer vintage Port by the bottle (ideally by the half bottle) and offer late bottled vintage (LBV) Port by the glass. As is inferred by the name, LBV goes to bottle late, spending four to six years in barrel first. While still ruby and youthful, the slight oxidation softens the wine and accelerates fruit flavors in addition to giving it the ability to stay fresh for up to four weeks, especially if it is place in the beer box or fridge between services. Unlike a wine opened this long, the fruit won't fade. LBV also carries the prestige of "vintage" in the name, while costing a quarter of the price. LBV FTW! DOW'S LATE BOTTLED VINTAGE PORT MAKES SENSE FOR ON-PREMISE BY-THE-GLASS by Catherine Fallis, MS Dow's Late Bottled Vintage Port is a superb value and ideal for by-the- glass service.

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