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Producer: SandemanGrape Varieties: BlendedOptimum Drinking: Within 10 yearsWine Style: Lusciously sweet and fruity fortified wineAlcohol by Volume: 20%Closure: Natural CorkCountry: Portugal
There are few more iconic images in the world of wine than the ‘Don’, the logo created for the Sandeman family in 1928 by George Massiot Brown. The cape was modelled on the attire worn by university students in Porto, while the wide-brimmed hat was a nod to the family’s presence in Jerez. Today, the wines are good enough to be every bit as famous as the image of the Don. Since Sogrape bought Sandeman in 2002, the major improvements and investment that have taken place in the vineyards and the winemaking has seen the wines rise to the top of the tree in Port. The production of Port – especially Tawny – requires patience and a long-term vision, something which explains why families like the Guedes are among the major players in the Port business today.
The Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca grapes that make up the LBV blend are sourced from prime vineyard sites in the Cima Corgo sub-region of the Douro. The soil in the Douro Valley is schist - a slate-like metamorphic rock that fractures vertically, allowing the vine roots to dig deep to access water and nutrients to sustain them through the hot Douro summers. The vines are planted on terraces supported by dry stone walls on the steep hillsides sloping down to the Douro river. Given the steep gradients and the inaccessibility for machinery, vineyard operations and harvesting are carried out by hand.
Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were de-stemmed and gently crushed. Fermentation took place in granite lagares (shallow vats) with vigorous foot treading to extract the ideal levels of colour, flavour and tannin from the grape skins. The ferment was closely monitored to determine the ideal moment to halt the fermentation by fortifying with grape spirit, leaving some of the grapes’ natural sugars. The wines remained in the Douro until the spring following the harvest when they were transported downstream to the historic Sandeman cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia for ageing in oak casks for around four years. The wines were regularly tasted and analysed during this time and the final blend was assembled from a selection of the best casks. The LBV is bottled unfiltered, in order to preserve its great intensity of flavour.
Deep ruby in colour. On the nose, aromas of ripe and juicy blackberries, black cherries, strawberries and plums are married with subtle spicy notes and floral hints. On the palate, firm but ripe tannins and a lively acidity carry the sumptuous flavours onto the lingering finish
The 2015 vintage was characterised by hot and dry conditions. A mild and dry spring provided ideal conditions for flowering and fruit set. The summer was hot, with three heatwaves recorded during the months of June and July and temperatures exceeding 40ºC. These hot conditions delayed the vegetative cycle and the 2015 harvest was two weeks later than usual. However, the grapes harvested were of excellent quality with great concentration of flavour
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