Sandeman, LBV 2013 port


2013 from £14.95 

Older vintages from CA$17.35, €13.90, £12.99, 23.20 Swiss francs, $24.81, 169 Danish krone, NZ$43.99, 2,065 roubles, HK$278, SG$58, 270 Brazilian real 

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Here's what to do: DRINK MORE PORT.

A straightforward imperative, yet one that many of us, myself included, struggle to obey – even though we all profess to love the stuff, and bemoan how frequently it is overlooked. So we need more occasions on which to enjoy this wonderful drink. And Sandeman's LBV provides the perfect way to get things started.

Because it turns out that we've been doing it wrong. The reason I am singling out this particular LBV, among the several excellent examples I tasted at the recent Big Fortified Tasting, is that it was served at the perfect temperature: lightly chilled, probably at about 14 ºC (57 ºF). On a hot day in a spirit-filled central London room, it hit the tongue like a drop of water in a desert and unveiled versatility far beyond its traditional role as a hefty Christmas-time digestif.

The combination of sweetness, soft tannins and moderate acidity makes LBV an ideal candidate for chilling. Sandeman's 2013 is also endowed with rich, generous red fruit and ready-to-drink complexity of spice, ginger and malt that expresses itself very well at lower temperatures. The flavours really popped, seeming more fresh, precise and vibrant than they would have been at room temperature. After all, sweet, fruity cocktails are served cold – so why not port?

Furthermore, its youthfulness is nothing other than a valuable asset. As a category which is made to be drinkable upon release (following barrel ageing to soften tannins and develop flavours), LBV encapsulates all the ripeness and generosity of grapes ripened in a hot climate, and Sandeman's 2013 bursts forth with fruitiness. This is a serious wine, yet should be enjoyed casually as a chilled summer aperitif just as much as a contemplative digestif in the winter.

From the tech sheet on their well-designed website, I see that the 2013 LBV is 45% Touriga Franca, 30% Tinta Roriz and 25% Touriga Nacional with 94 grams per litre of residual sugar, a healthy 20.5% alcohol and was aged for four years in wood before being bottled unfiltered.

The 2013 vintage seems to be available only in the UK at present, though I see from our database that previous vintages have also scored well, and are widely distributed around the world. So there really is no excuse not to drink more port, and let Sandeman's LBV be the one that starts the bottles rolling.

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