Churchill's Crusted Port
- Rich,fruity style of Port with dried fruit and blackcurrant and plums to the fore.
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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.
Crusted Port is a style of wine that was invented by English wine merchants when port was still being shipped in bulk and blended to their specification. It ceased to exist as soon as bulk shipments were stopped. There followed almost a decade before the Portuguese authorities reinstated Crusted port as a special category. Churchills Crusted Port is made up of the very best wines from two or sometimes three different harvests. It is kept in wood for up to two years and then bottled for further maturation. As this blend is not subject to any fining or filtration it continues to develop and mature in bottle. Given sufficient time, it throws a thick sediment, otherwise called a crust - this is the English word from which it derives its name. Crusted Port is even closer in style to Vintage Port than our traditional LBV. It presents a dense, concentrated wine for far less than the price of a Vintage Port. In his tasting notes winemaker Johnny Graham describes it as rich and jammy, beginning to show the benefits of bottle age.
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