Churchill’s Port was founded by Johnny Graham, scion of the famed Graham family, in 1981. His family’s own company had been acquired in 1970 by Symington Family Estates (Graham’s, Warre’s, Dow’s, Cockburn’s, Smith Woodhouse, and others), and at the time he struck out on his own he was establishing the first new Port house in half a century. To this day, Churchill’s remains one of the most significant boutique houses outside the umbrella of Symington Family Estates and Taylor Fladgate (Taylor’s, Fonseca, Croft, and others.) All Churchill’s grapes are sourced from Grade-A (the highest in the Douro’s rating scheme) vineyards, and all grapes receive ‘vintage’ treatment at the outset: crushed and vinified in granite lagares, where they undergo the time-honored and costly process of human foot-treading for extraction. A key factor in Churchill’s relatively dry style is a longer-than-normal fermentation time, which also means that the proportion of alcohol from added brandy is lower than normal in these wines.
Reserve’ is technically a designation for a premium style of Ruby Port. Ruby is typically the youngest, freshest, and least expensive of all port styles. Some rubies see no wood at all, though reserves, including Churchill’s, see some wood aging—just not enough to truly oxidize.
Churchill’s Reserve Port is a field blend of traditional varieties: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca and Tinta Francisca. It’s fermented in granite lagares until reaching 99 g/L of residual sugar, when it’s fortified with neutral grape spirit to 19.5% alcohol and raised in seasoned oak casks for just three years before bottling.
Bright ruby red in color with hints of violet. Aromas of blueberries, eucalyptus and gum cistus lead to a vibrant palate of fruit with a natural and balanced acidity. Pairs well with chocolate and soft cheeses.