Churchills's 2015 Late Bottled Vintage Port, Porto, Portugal
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.
While ‘regular’ vintage port, the pinnacle of any house’s production, is typically bottled after a maximum of 30 months in wood or steel (thus retaining a fresher, less oxidative fruit character, but often requiring decades of bottle age to tame the wine’s fierce structure), a parallel style of Late-Bottled Vintage developed.
Winemaker: Johnny Graham
Farming: Certified Sustainable (SATIVA institute).
Varities: 20% Touriga Nacional, 20% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinta Roriz, 20% Tinto Cão, 20% Tinta Barroca.
Vinification: Fermented naturally on indigenous yeasts in granite lagares until reaching 98 g/L of residual sugar, at which point it’s fortified with neutral grape spirit to 19.5% alcohol.
Aging: Four years aging in wood. Bottled unfiltered— while it will not throw as much sediment as a vintage port, decanting is recommended.
Enjoying: Stand the bottle upright for a few hours before decanting. Best decanted at least two hours before service. Serve at room temperature (59-64ºF). Once opened, it will keep for up to 10 days. Avoid air and store at a constant cellar temperature.
Pairing: LBV is delicious on its own after lunch or dinner; also excellent with chocolate desserts or rich cheeses such as Stilton and Camembert. Save the natural sediment or crust for seasoning meats and adding to sauces.