Churchill's 20 Year Old Tawny 50cl
- Beautifully balanced with spicy, cedary complexity and a nutty texture
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- Despite its thoroughly traditional-sounding name Churchill is the newest of the British-owned Port companies, founded in 1981 by Johnny Graham. As the name Graham would suggest, Johnnys family has a background in the Port trade: his family owned Graham, one of the most well known of the Port houses which was sold to the Symingtons in 1970. Traditionally, Ports have been foot trodden in lagars, but this requires a large workforce. Typically, Port houses will recruit a team of pickers, usually from the same village. They come and stay in the Douro together and pick by day, then work the lagars at night. Its a sociable practice, but one that harks back to a different era. At Churchill, everything is foot trodden. Its expensive, says Johnny Graham. Im not sure how much longer we will be able to do it for. From a technical point of view, treading produces a better result than robotic lagars.
There are two major styles of Port. The first is Ruby (a category including Vintage, Single Quinta, LBV, Crusted, Vintage Character and Ruby) wines aged for a relatively short time in larger wood, and then bottled with lots of fruit. The second is Tawny, wines aged for much longer in wood (usually in 600 litre pipes). The good Tawnies are fantastic, and are relatively neglected. Cherry red with a brown hint. Wonderfully complex, nutty, spicy sweet wine with a fresh citrus kick on the finish. Beautifully balanced with spicy, cedary complexity and a smooth nutty texture, as well as herb and spice notes as well as some cherry fruit. Distinctive, complex and lively.
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