Churchill’s releases Quinta da Gricha 2021 Vintage Port
Port company Churchill’s has announced the limited release of Quinta da Gricha 2021 Vintage Port, the twenty-first Quinta vintage produced by Johnny Graham from the company’s flagship estate.
Named from the natural spring – the “gricha” – that feeds into its north-facing vineyards, Quinta da Gricha is located on the South bank of the river Douro between the Pinhão and Tua valleys. The 40-hectare vineyard sits in a microclimate at 150 to 400 metres above sea level with a wind exposure that naturally regulates humidity. According to the company, the oldest vines are more than 70 years old and produce wines with a “vibrant natural acidity and complexity”.
Through the richness of the gricha terroir and schist soils, which are located on ancient tin and gold mines, wines are produced with “a characteristic minerality, freshness and raw energy”, the producer said.
Quinta da Gricha Vintage Ports are also produced with minimal intervention, having been sourced exclusively from the old vineyards on the estate, and hand-picked grapes – twice sorted – are foot-treated in traditional granite ‘lagares’ for prolonged natural fermentation using native yeast. The port is a bottling of 2940 numbered 75cl bottles and 150 magnums, representing 7% of the estate’s port production in 2021.
The 2021 vintage was also the ‘result of a more typical growing season’, according to Churchill’s, with rainfall at key moments of the year, delivering a balanced and complete maturation. Rain throughout the winter and into the spring allowed vineyards to develop water reserves until August, when the dry months of the summer created hydric stress on the vineyards.
During the harvest in early and mid-September, there were several days of rain, which benefited the grapes, it said, before being picked ‘under perfect weather conditions’ at the end of the month.
“Overall, the wines we produced during the harvest are fresher than average, with a lower alcohol content but excellent intrinsic quality, balance, and intensity,” Churchill’s said.
Speaking about the vintage port, Churchill’s founder and master blender, Johnny Graham, said: “(It is) a beautiful Single Quinta Vintage Port. It shows the elegance, focus and sheer pedigree of the Gricha terroir.
“In colour it is inky black at the core with a lively purple rim. Aromas of wild heather and blueberries. Fresh and juicy on the palate, with hints of dark chocolate and orange peel. Plenty of grip and intensity, in a pure, vibrant and racy style.”