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.
White port? That’s right. It’s actually been marketed since at least the 1930s, but has come into vogue more recently as the rumored favorite tipple of port shippers themselves, often consumed in a Collins glass under the pergola topped off with tonic water and a garnish. Lots of mixology potential here.
Churchill’s White Port is a field blend of mostly Malvasia Fina with the balance in Rabigato, Codega and Viosinho. Fermentation in granite lagares until reaching 40 g/L of residual sugar (this is far and away their driest bottling) before fortification with neutral grape spirit to 19.5% alcohol. Ages for ten years in oak casks. Filtered for sediment.