Cálem Vintage Port 1985 and Kopke LBV 2018


Although they belong to the same family, both have vintage in their name and are wines from a single harvest year, there are aspects that differentiate these two Port wines. Find out what they are.


Although they are part of the same family of Port wines - the  Ruby Ports - and share in their name the designation "vintage", LBV Port and Vintage Port present different proposals and even suggest different drinking moments.

Keep reading and find out how to distinguish a LBV Port from a Vintage Port.

What does LBV mean in Port wine?

LBV stands for Late Bottled Vintage and both LBV Port and Vintage Port are made from a careful selection of grapes, harvested in a single year, with unique characteristics that give rise to full-bodied red wines of exceptional quality.
It is after the harvest, in the tasting room, that the process of selecting the wines vinified in each of the years begins. It is at this moment that each one's direction is decided, that the vintages, LBV and Colheitas of a single year begin to be designed. For these categories the ones that exhibit the greatest ageing potential are chosen and their character will be enhanced by the chosen ageing method. Thus, the ageing of a Vintage is done in large wooden vats for only two years. After this period, the wine is transferred to the bottle and it is there that it will continue to age. A long evolution that may last several decades.
LBV Port is also matured in wood, but for a longer period, which may last from four to six years. As the name suggests, this wine is then bottled later.
It is a wine with an exquisite structure, ready to drink, its design is to provide all the experience of the fresh fruit of a ruby in a complex and balanced matrix.

LBV or Vintage Port: the main differences

Late Bottled Vintage Port was developed with the purpose of offering consumers a high quality alternative to Vintage Port, aiming at a more immediate and even more informal consumption.
Being a more accessible wine, it can be drunk on a day-to-day basis with the advantage of being able to be enjoyed for a longer period of time after opening the bottle and normally there is no need for decanting.
A Vintage Port is a wine that is intentionally unfiltered before being bottled. This process will provide a slow precipitation of the bottle. Thus, before serving, it is recommended that the wine be decanted. In LBV's, decanting may or may not be necessary, depending on how long the wine has been in bottle; a wine bottled for more than a year would always appreciate decanting before serving and the style of wine in question. It is possible to find already filtered LBV, which do not gain deposit and, as such, are ready to serve. But there are also some LBV that do not go through this process and are labelled "Unfiltered". These are wines with greater ageing potential and may continue to age in the bottle.
Bearing in mind its longer ageing, LBV Port gives the producer greater creative freedom to, during this period, design a certain wine profile, according to the style he has in mind. This shaping may be done according to the raw material used and the way the wine is stored. For example, if the wine is stored in large vats, there is less exposure to oxidation and greater preservation of fruit and vigour is achieved. If, on the other hand, the ageing is done in barrels or smaller deposits, contact with the air is facilitated, which is reflected in a wine with a smoother and rounder profile.
This results in an interesting polyvalence, which becomes distinctive to this type of Port wine. Presenting itself as a full-bodied and quite fruity wine, an LBV can combine smoothness and elegance with vibrant and intense freshness.
Both being wines from a single harvest, a Vintage Port and a LBV Port share many of their characteristics, such as intense colour, solid structure and a palate that reflects the character of the winegrowing year.
By drinking a more complex and concentrated Late Bottled Vintage Port you can get a rough idea of what the experience of tasting a Vintage Port will be, in a more immediate and accessible way.
Even so, if you have the opportunity, do not fail to taste an authentic Vintage. You will see that it is not for nothing that this is considered the top range of Port wines.
Want to go from theory to practice? In our Uva Wine Shop you will find several references of LBV Port and Vintage Port, which will allow you to experience and understand this distinction.

Suggestion: also read the article "Port Wine: Vintage or Colheita" and learn how to distinguish these two very special categories.