The wine of the month
Churchill's, Late Bottled Vintage, 2018
5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP
Januari 2024: Churchill's, Late Bottled Vintage, 2018 (21 EUR/23 USD in Sweden) port wine, Porto, Douro, Portugal, 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points) (14-01-2024 by Nenad Jelisic)
It is extremely fascinating that a winery manages to produce a wine that five years in a row gets 5,0 NJP of 5,0 (100 points of 100 points). During my 40 years as a wine lover/connoisseur, I have never experienced this before. I can not either recall that during these 40 years as a wine lover/connoisseur that I have once tasted a wine that has got 5,0 NJP of 5,0 (100 points of 100 points) two vintages in a row. That Churchill's manages to produce a wine that five years in a row gets 5,0 NJP of 5,0 (100 points of 100 points) proves once again that they are pure geniuses when it comes to making port wines. Here I must point out that producing a sweet wine that has a brilliant acidity and brilliant tannins which together brilliantly respond to the wine's high sweetness is extremely difficult. Over the past 40 years I have tasted hundreds of port wines and can say that extremely few port wine makers have succeeded this wonder i.e. to produce a sweet wine (port wine) that has brilliant acidity and brilliant tannins that brilliantly respond to the high sweetness of the port wine. Of those extremely few port wine makers who have succeeded with this wonder, none have managed to produce a port wine that got two consecutive vintages 5,0 NJP of 5,0 (100 points out of 100 points). If this vintage is compared to the three previous brilliant vintages (2014, 2015 and 2016), what characterizes it and the 2017 vintage is the aforementioned brilliant acidity and the aforementioned brilliant tannins. Probability that NJ Wines would give 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points) to five consecutive vintages (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018) to one and the same wine is as likely as that someone would win 100,000,000 SEK on a lottery. With this vintage, Churchill's reaffirms again that it produces the world's best Late Bottled Vintage port wine. Bravo Churchill's! The wine can, with great pleasure, be drunk now, but it can also be aged for at least another 20 years, i.e. until at least 2044.
An explosion of both aromas and flavours, especially flavours. The balance between the fabulous acidity, the fabulous tannins and the fruitiness is absolutely incredible. The aroma is big, complex, sweet spicy and peppery. In it one will find dried dark cherries, Crème de Cassis, white pepper, sweet spices, cocoa-rich dark chocolate and dried dates. The taste is big, complex, sweet spicy, fresh and sweet fruity. In it one will find cocoa rich dark chocolate, black pepper, ripe dark cherries, walnuts and Crème de Cassis. The aftertaste stays in the mouth forever. It is peppery, sweet, spicy and a little bitter.
You can enjoy this fabulous port wine without anything or with dates stuffed with walnuts or with dates stuffed with feta cheese or with cocoa-rich dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) or with a lot of different cheeses like Castello Blue, Gorgonzola, Parmigiano Reggiano, Roquefort, Stilton, and Västerbotten or with less sweet cherry pie, blueberry pie and apple pie or with pancakes filled with Nutella, very fine grated dark chocolate and walnuts or with Swedish kladdkaka (sticky chocolate cake), but so little sweet as possible.
The wine is a blend of six different grape varieties: Tinta Barroca, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional. The grapes for the wine come from a 50 hectare vineyard (Quinta da Gricha) that is located 150 to 400 meters above sea level on the south bank of the river Douro. The oldest vines are more than 60 years old. The wine's production process is as follows: the grapes are harvested and selected by hand, after the harvest, the grapes are delivered to the winery where they are destemmed and then placed in the low stone tanks (lagares) where they are treaded (crushed) by mechanized feet. After the destemming and crushing process, the grape must, which consists of pulp, skins, juice and seeds, is fermented in the stone tanks until it has an alcohol strength of 6 to 8% when it is fortified to 19 to 21% with 77% grape spirit. Then the wine is separated from the grape must and aged in large oak barrels 4 years before it is released on the market. With Late Bottled Vintage, it is meant that the port wine comes from a single vintage and that has been aged in oak barrels between 4 and 6 years. Do not worry about the sediment of the wine in the second to last or the last glass. The sediment only shows that the producer has not filtered the wine at all.
I recommend that you start to drink this fabulous port wine at 8°C (unlike what most of wine websites and the producer itself recommend) and let it slowly grows/opens in the glass while you drink it. If you can drink Churchill's Late Bottled Vintage 2017 from Riedel Vinum Port or Orrefors Difference Sweet or Orrefors Elixir.