Warre's Vintage Port (375ML half-bottle) 2000
Founded in 1670, Warre & Co. is the oldest and one of the most highly esteemed port shipping firms in the world. William Warre joined as partner in 1729, and the company became known as Warre. The Warre family worked in the wine trade at Oporto for over 200 years. Andrew James Symington, great-grandfather of the current managing director of Warre’s, sailed to Portugal in 1863. After establishing himself as a well-known merchant in the port trade, he became associated with Warre’s in 1905. In 1912, the Warre family chose to return to England where they would look after sales, while the Symingtons managed operations in Portugal. Today, James Symington is the director of Warre’s, which falls under the umbrella of Symington Family Wines.
Best known for intense, impressive and age-worthy fortified wines, Portugal relies almost exclusively on its many indigenous grape varieties. Bordering Spain to its north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean on its west and south coasts, this is a land where tradition reigns supreme, due to its relative geographical and, for much of the 20th century, political isolation. A long and narrow but small country, Portugal claims considerable diversity in climate and wine styles, with milder weather in the north and significantly more rainfall near the coast.
While Port (named after its city of Oporto on the Atlantic Coast at the end of the Douro Valley), made Portugal famous, Portugal is also an excellent source of dry red and white wines of various styles.
The Duoro Valley produces full-bodied and concentrated dry red wines made from the same set of grape varieties used for Port, which include Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão, among a long list of others in minor proportions.
Other dry wines include the tart, slightly effervescent Vinho Verde white wine, made in the north, and the bright, elegant reds and whites of the Dão as well as the bold, and fruit-driven reds and whites of the southern, Alentejo.
The nation’s other important fortified wine, Madeira, is produced on the eponymous island off the North African coast.
Port is a sweet, fortified wine with numerous styles: Ruby, Tawny, Vintage, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV), White, Colheita, and a few unusual others. It is blended from from the most important red grapes of the Douro Valley, based primarily on Touriga Nacional with over 80 other varieties approved for use. Most Ports are best served slightly chilled at around 55-65°F.