Churchill's: Four decades of producing Premium wines

Churchills recently presented the new image of its products but, above all, made known the consistency it has achieved over the last 40 years in the production of premium wines from Porto and Douro.

Minimalism is what reveals the new image of Churchills, which passed not only the logo but also the image of the bottles. Some labels are more classic, others more artistic, but their diamond shape in Port wines allows you to foresee the liquid gems that exist inside the bottles. And that is undoubtedly the most important thing.

Let's start with churchill's story. Originally from a well-known wine-producing family (5th generation) John Graham was just 21 years old when he started working at Cockburn's, along with one of the company's partners, and there made his first vintage. A work that began in 1973, and which he maintained until 1981, to learn a lot about the world of wine and about his profession. It is not surprising that he had the dream of continuing his career in the family business, but Graham's was eventually sold to the Symington family, eventually johnny was forced to open his own company. (In the entrance photo, Johnny Graham with his daughter Zoe; Director of Sales and Marketing and sixth generation of the family), and winemaker Ricardo Pinto Nunes).

He then began looking for wines with a certain profile in several production companies to make blends, but no one seemed to have what he wanted. Until finally, he spoke with Jorge Borges de Sousa, who had more than 1000 barrels stored, and ended up buying gradually to make his wines. Already with wines available, he could proceed with the constitution of his own company but, as Graham's name could no longer be used (because it belonged to the Symingtons) Johnny then decided to 'borrow' the surname of the woman Caroline Churchill, and founded the company in 1981, the year after his marriage. "This was the beginning of the company, a great adventure," recalls Johnny. "For a few years I used jorge borges de Sousa's wines but they realized what was good there and they no longer sold me", he says, with a laugh.  

It was at this point that he thought the company should finally buy a farm to produce its own wines. "I then started looking for a farm with the location I wanted, on the left bank of the Douro and facing north, in the Cima-Corgo region", reveals the producer. There he found Quinta da Gricha, a 50-hectare property he had known since he worked at Cockburn's and was, by chance, for sale. In the past, still working at Cockburn's, he remembered buying a lot of grapes there, and as he knew the quality of the product, he had no doubts about moving forward with the purchase. Something that only happened years later because the farm was promised to someone else who couldn't buy it. Fact that didn't stop him from buying grapes until it was finally his. Fate was set!

Quinta da Gricha is located on the left bank of the Douro, and is facing north, in the Douro region of Cima-Corgo

More than 30 years later, Churchill's has built a reputation for producing award-winning Port and Douro wines in the unique and personal style of its founder.As a fifth generation in port wine production, Johnny Graham focuses on producing wines for the future, which stand the test of time, and using sustainable methods that ensure that future generations will be able to maintain the family tradition in the Douro.

All the vineyards of the farm are classified with the letter A - the most valuable of the Douro - and all ports are still produced in the traditional granite mills built in 1852."With the purchase of Quinta da Gricha, Churchill's also started to produce Douro wine, which have achieved great success. The Churchill's Estates brand turns out to be the driving force of the portfolio, wines with a very own identity that are distinguished by their freshness and purity of fruit", says the producer.

Wines with Personality

To evaluate the consistency of the company's work, several Premium wines were on the test. In the first flight of wines of the Churchill's Graffiti Estate range were tasted the White 2020 and red 2019, simpler but substantial wines, with presence. Tinta Roriz 2019 and Touriga Nacional 2014, on the other, proved to be different profiles but both consistent. In the end, the Great Red Reserve 2014 turned out to shine; by structure, complexity and freshness, demonstrating an excellent aging potential.

On the second flight we entered the Ports, being on the test the Churchill's Dry White, which proved to be a simple but seductive white. In the Tawnies, churchill's 10, 20 and 30 years were tasted, which revealed well the profile of each dated Port, keeping among them a connecting line, but highlighting porto 30 years for its beautiful tertiary aromas and complex and deep taste, and excellent acidity.

The last flight also made known the ruby family of Churchill's: the Reserve, the LBV 2017 and the Crusted Port bottled in 2014, the latter to excel in originality (there are already few houses that make this style of Porto, slightly more rustic for not being filtered, but very tasty). To interconnect them the certainty that they are wines of great quality, from the simplest to the most complex, which will certainly give joy to the most demanding wine connoisseur.