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Dear Dr. Vinny,
What can you tell me about LBV Ports and the level of quality relative to price that these wines represent?
—Jeff Z., Columbus, Ohio
"LBV" stands for "Late-Bottled Vintage." By law, LBV Ports are bottled within four to six years from the vintage date. This means they spend about twice as long in wood as vintage Ports, and so are usually more accessible at an early age. Some producers cold stabilize and filter their LBVs. This is supposed to eliminate the need to decant the Port, but I've found it can strip away the flavors. If you're looking for LBVs made more like vintage Ports, look for the word "Traditional" on the label.
As far as the quality is concerned, it varies. LBVs were originally intended to offer an experience comparable to vintage Port but at a much lower cost. Many deliver the goods, but some of them can be shadows of the real thing.
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