Warre’s Port and Cheese Pairings.
Recently we were invited to join Warre’s Port in Assendelft at “het Kaasfort Amsterdam”, which was a beautiful location. During this day we came across with some surprising Port and Cheese pairings, which are created by Réne Koelman and Jan-Jaap Altenburg (sommeljj). The delicious Ports came from Warre’s Port.
About Warre’s Port
A Portugese estate that already exists for 352 years. Warre’s was founded in 1670, as the first British Port company in the whole world. This company is not only unique due to this, but also through their distinguished family members, such as William Warre. He played a central and decisive role during the Peninsular War.
Thus, the name Warre’s is synonymous with the history of Port, and they can be considered as pioneers in the Port trade. One of the hallmarks of this brand, and a benchmark of the Douro wines, is the Warre’s Warrior Finest Reserve Ruby.
Besides their rich history they are striving to continuous improvement and innovation, towards a more social, environmental and ethical business model.
Port and Cheese Pairing
Jan-Jaap presented seven Port’s from Warre’s to us, which were paired with cheeses sorted out by Réne. Warre’s has a reputation as one of the finest Vintage Ports produced. The line-up we tasted can be found below, along with an explanation and our scores for each Port.
Warre’s Fine White port – DWA score: 82
Produced from traditional white grape varieties from the Douro Demarcated Region.
This refreshing port is medium dry. Lots of people however think it is sweet, mainly due to the amount of residual sugar and the aromas of almond accompanied with honey. It contains fruit characteristics such as apple, pear and apricot, alongside some floral notes like blossom. In the end it shows a long finish. In this case it was served as a cocktail with tonic, a slice of pear and some thyme. The bitterness of the tonic pairs perfect with the sweetness of the tonic.
Cheese: Dronken Koning. The harmony is perfect, it melts in your mouth where the flavors of the cheese combine with the cocktail. Tip: do not make the cocktail too cold.
Warre’s Warrior Reserve – DWA score: 90
This dark-red coloured port is the hallmark of this brand and a benchmark of the Douro wines. The combination of the riper fruit notes (plums and cherries) with the high alcohol percentage of 20% fills your mouth in a smooth way. Oak is used which is found back as aromas of chocolate and a slight hint of cedar. It is a balanced wine and a good starter.
Cheese: Pouligny St. Pierre. It is recommendable to leave the crust as it will make the Port more acidic and sourer. Without makes the cheese creamier and the port comes more forward.
Warre’s King’s Tawny – DWA score: 85
This Tawny Port is lighter-coloured that the ruby one described above, but as well more delicate. Kings’s is a younger Tawny where the red fruits flavours of strawberry, cherry and raspberry come forward. There is a fine balance with the mellowness through the usage of oak, therefore chocolate and caramel are present. The young fruity components are well balanced with the oak and the higher alcohol-percentage of 19%.
Cheese: Torta de Oveja & Etivaz. Both cheeses are suitable for this pairing. The Port and cheese take advantages of each other’s strengths.
Warre’s Otima 10 – DWA score: 85
Warre’s wanted to stay innovative and therefore Otima is released to attract a new target group, the younger generation. We are fan. This 10-year-old-Tawny shows freshness, fruitiness, and the elegance of the 550L barriques in one sip. In the nose, one can smell nuts accompanied with the riper fruit components of apricot and cranberry. On the palate you will find fig, caramel and raisin with a smooth texture and mouthfeel.
Cheese: Swarte Toer with most Arda of prunes en ginger. It is recommended to taste the Port and cheese without the Arda. In combination the Port comes forward first and after a while the cheese hits in during the finish.
Warre’s Otima Colheita 2013 – DWA score: 90
Colheita means the vintage. This rich garnet-coloured Port is a combination of richness and a warming effect, due to the high alcohol percentage of 20%. The fruit flavors are more tertiary, meaning dried fruit and a bit of jaminess. A spiciness is also added with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. It has a long and integrated finish.
Cheese: Epoisses Ras el Hanout. A perfect combination because the Port has some spiciness, which goes well with the Ras el Hanout. First the spices come present themselves, after which you experience the creaminess of the cheese. This was ours favorite pairing.
Warre’s 2009 LBV – DWA score: 92
This bottle aged vintage Port has typical aromas of fig, raisin, and oak. However, on the palate smooth spices of pepper and cinnamon are found. The well-integrated alcohol works well together with the high acidity, the sweetness of the caramel and the creamy texture. Surprising are the earthy notes of leather, earth and smoke.
Cheese: Vacherin aux truffes & Boeren leidsekaas. Vacherin aux truffes was the best pairing from the two cheeses as the earthy notes of the Port went well with the notes of the truffle. Both became creamier and paired up in the mouth.
Warre’s 2000 Vintage – DWA score: 92
This Port is a special Port for Warre’s as it has been produced to celebrate their 350th anniversary. It has been in the bottle for quite a while, resulting in tones of leather and dried fig. Both red (cherry, raspberry) and black fruits (black current, plum) can be detected, accompanied with spices of licorice and cinnamon. The structure is a bit sticky, but it flows easily through your mouth with a long finish.
Cheese: Remeker old. A combination where the Port takes over the cheese for a while, but through the remarkable flavor of the cheese, the latter makes its comeback.
Once again, we got the confirmation that Port and cheese pairing can be very surprising. Each Port needs another cheese to get the best out of the two. Port is definitely not outdated, and some of the new approaches to Port are certainly worth the try!
Our special thanks go to Warre’s, Kaasfort Amsterdam, Alice Brown PR, Jan-Jaap Altenburg, and Réne Koelman for organizing this event. This event was covered for us by our own Judi Veldwijk.