First, a word of apology to those who read my wine reviews: this is not actually a review, as I have not yet had the pleasure of tasting this port.

I did, however, purchase a bottle of it today, for $50. This is substantially outside my budget.

The thing about (good) vintage port is that you should wait a minimum of about ten years before you drink it. But when you do, and if you're lucky, your lips will be greeted by something of surpassing beauty and elegance.

I sat, or more appropriately stood, there in the wine store today. I had gone in to buy some Zinfandel, but, as always, I found myself wandering over to the (small) section of ports. I noticed, to my horror, that only one bottle of this wine remained on the shelf. Other ports of the same vintage, of course, were available, but none near the quality of the Warre's. Earlier, I'd debated purchasing a bottle or two, but I decided against it as I don't have the ability to store it properly (in short: constant temperature around 55° F, moderate humidity, low light and low vibration). This means that, now that I've bought the bottle, it may well spoil before I get a chance to drink it. I hope to hell not, but that's the risk.

Moreover, it's not really a good investment: I recently saw bottles of 1977 Fonseca Vintage Port--just about the best stuff out there--advertised at $200. Assuming it was originally available at $25 a bottle (which is just a guess) and a release year of 1980, then that amounts to an annualized return of just over 10% (and remember that some of this was during a high-inflation period in the US). And this is a superlative wine from a superlative harvest. The Warre's promises to be a magnificent wine, and 1997 was a great year for port, but it will likely not appreciate as well. In short, in straight economic terms I'm probably better off sticking the $50 in a conservative investment vehicle and buying a bottle ten years down the road.

I weighed these factors and bought the bottle. I like to think that, when I drink this port as I turn 40 in ten years, I will thank my past self for having purchased it, investment potential be damned. And until that day arrives, there is another benefit that can't be properly weighed by a simple economic scale: I will enjoy seeing it there, nestled in against the other bottles of my sparse collection, and I will dream longingly of the day it will be opened. Even if it turns out to be vinegar, I will have had it on display, like a valuable painting, for a decade. Some may call that lame, but I just won't invite them to the party.

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