LATE bottled vintage (LBV) port is one of the most misunderstood wines on the market; not quite a princess but definitely the belle of most balls.

It’s a step up from basic ruby port and a step down from the rarified world of full vintage ports and it’s my humble opinion that this classification hosts some of the best value and best tasting ports you can buy.

So what exactly is it? LBV is part of the ruby/vintage character port family and the wines are aged for four to six years in cask before being bottled for sale. They are produced every year while their big brothers, vintage ports, are produced on average three times every decade and only then when a majority of port houses agree that all the conditions were right.

The most basic examples are generally very good, but once in a while, the odd LBV is produced that is every bit as good as a full vintage in style and depth yet at a tiny fraction of the price, so it’s a port type to keep an eye on.

Particularly consistent LBVs include Warren, Dows, Fonseca and Portal but I’ve had some cracking results from many of the houses in the Douro.

Many of the current LBVs are bottled unfiltered, by the way, but don’t let the hassle of decanting put you off because they are well worth the extra ceremony and care.

Ramos Pinto Unfiltered LBV 2015

Smooth, deep dark fruits with broody alcohol and a Christmas cake fruit finish. Gorgeous. £24.20


Quinta Do Noval LBV 2016 unfiltered

Warm plums and stewed fruits with hints of spice and vanilla on the finish. All in, this is all a corker of a port, especially at this


Oddbins £26.75