What am I: Representative of perhaps the most traditional and ancient winemaking practice in Portugal, this wine is made entirely in clay amphora (talha in local Alentejo dialect). This technique has an unbroken connection to ancient Roman winemaking practiced in this very area of Portugal.
The XXVI Talhas Project was born out of a desire to rehabilitate one of the most traditional wineries in the region, located in one of the villages central to the historic production of talha wine, Villa Alves. The winery cellar has been in the same family for generations, and some of the talha are several hundred years old. The name of the project refers to the 26 talhas in this cellar, and tareco is what the smaller sized talhas are called.
A field blend of traditional Alentejo grapes, the grapes are destemmed and lightly crushed. Fermentation takes place in the talha with skin contact throughout the process, and so all these wines are curtimenta – meaning fermented on the skins, providing for even more complexity and nuanced flavors. There is no temperature control and spontaneous fermentation occurs from native yeast. The wine is not filtered or stabilized, and the only filtration takes place as the finished wine passes through the cap inside the amphora on its way out the tap to the bottle.
These are the new wines of 2020, and as fresh as wine can be. They are full of the resinous aromas, exotic flavors, and textural complexity that can only come from time spent in talha.
We have a Branco, Tinto, and a Palhete (co-fermented tinto and branco), and they are available in extremely limited quantities only during the Winter season. By the time Winter is gone, so will be these wines.
Region, Sub-region and/or DOC: Alentejo
Grape Varieties: field blend
Alcohol by volume: %