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Churchill’s joins port peers in declaring 2016 a vintage year

Published:  04 June, 2018

Churchill’s has become the latest port house to declare 2016 a vintage year following unusual but ultimately beneficial growing conditions in Portugal.

A combination of a wet winter and a cold and wet spring followed by an intense August heatwave conspired to create low yields of exceptionally high quality grapes, said Churchill’s founder & winemaker John Graham.

“Natural acidity in a young vintage port is the key to longevity,” said Graham. “Our decision to declare Churchill’s 2016 Vintage Port has been based on the purity, ripeness and intensity of its fruit flavours, but especially its excellent natural acidity.”

Production is tight, as a result of the extreme temperatures experienced ion the Cima Corgo and Douro regions throughout the summer of 2016. Churchill’s has produced a total of 4,000 six bottle cases with 2,000 available globally.

The move follows the declaration of 2016 as a vintage year by The Fladgate Partnership’s Croft, Fronesca and Taylor’s port houses, Symington Family Estates and the Gonzalez Byass GB-imported Quinta do Noval last month.

Fladgate MD Adrian Bridge said tight supplies mean the 2016 vintage is “likely to become rarities in future, particularly given the trend towards enjoying vintage ports young”.

Graham added that longer fermentation times means less brandy needs to be added to his products, helping the producer tap growing demand for more natural wines. All Churchill’s Ports and Douro wines are produced exclusively with native grape varieties.

“My ports are made with as much natural fermentation and with as little fortification brandy as possible,” he said. “I like to make wines in the most natural way. Above all I look for balance.”

Churchill’s 2016 Vintage Port will be distributed by New Generation Wines and is expected to carry a retail price of between £60 and £70.