Sandeman's 225th Anniversary with George Sandeman at The Sign of the Don
This year marks the 225th anniversary of Sandeman.
As part of the celebrations, I got to talk with George Sandeman at the launch event for a limited edition collection of his 2000 vintage port.
It has been something of a year-long party, first with the release of the Cask 33 and then the Single Quinta 2013.
This event, held at The Sign of the Don, is all about the release of a limited edition case of six bottles of the 2000-vintage port, each with a different label representing a key phase in the company's history.
I suggest to George that you might buy one of the limited edition cases and drink a bottle each decade; he replies with a twinkle that once you got to the last bottle, you would wish you had bought two cases.
Port is in an interesting place at the moment - there are high-end ports costing hundreds of pounds a bottle with white port and tonic, pink port and port cocktails at the lower end; all the supermarkets stock a port-and-cheese gift set at Christmas, but it doesn't have the broad profile of a regular drink.
Unsurprisingly, George's aim is for port to be seen as a more versatile drink than just that Christmas wine with cheese; he feels that elements of the etiquette and ritual around port drinking can add to its enjoyment, as long as it does not tip over into elitism.
He believes cocktails are the way forward for generating interest in port - and that this is merely the revival of a tradition of serving drinks like hot port (essentially, an instant mulled wine).
But tonight is all about celebrating Sandeman's 225 years with the 2000 vintage port - and I am lucky enough to get to try some.
There are only 225 full cases of the wines, but single bottles are also available, priced at £70.
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