Port.Club is a new membership retail platform by the Port House Churchill’s.
For a drink that has laboured under a somewhat old-fashioned image, it’s good to see an innovative venture like this that aims to ‘demistify port with fun learning experiences both online and in the real world.’ The website looks good, and the club is pitched at normal people who like the idea of port but could do with a helping hand in their journey.
For £70 one off, or £240 for a yearly subscription (the Ports arrive quarterly) you get three Ports, nicely wrapped, with supporting material. One is any time (in this case a cheaper Ruby), one is the right time (20 Year Old Tawny) and one is the one time (a club-exclusive Quinta da Gricha 2009 Vintage).
Port is an amazing wine style: a beautiful expression of a wild place, the Douro Valley in northern Portugal. But do people drink it often enough? It’s sales tend to be quite seasonal. And because it’s 20% alcohol and sweet, it’s hard to fit into a meal, except at the end, when often people have had enough. I love it though, and so I’m glad to see initiatives like this.
I was sent the initial release and these are my notes on the wines:
Churchill’s Reserve Port NV Douro, Portugal
19.5% alcohol. This is rich, sweet and open with cherry and blackberry fruit, a hint of raisin, and some appealing spicy, woody notes. Very rich and appealing with lovely fruit and an attractive spicy complexity. 88/100
Churchill’s 20 Years Old Tawny Port NV Douro, Portugal
19.5% alcohol. This is mellow and spicy, and very sweet, with lovely red cherry fruit with some warm spiciness and a touch of raisin and fine herb. Lovely elegance, finesse and complexity here. Lovely red fruit character here, with nice tension and purity. This is really good. 93/100
Churchill’s Quinta da Gricha Vintage Port 2009 Douro, Portugal
19.5% alcohol. This is very sweet. It’s quite mellow, with a soft texture, and lots of ripe cherry and berry fruit. There’s a bit of sour cherry, with a lovely smoothness and a bit of plum and damson round the fringes. A really ripe year has produced a soft, seductive vintage Port, which is drinking very well now. Good concentration. Tastes very sweet. 91/100