Made in clay: a talha study

Tasting some wines made in talhas, the Alentejo amphorae that are back in fashion

I’m on my way to  the Alentejo for a tasting of Talha wines. ‘Talha’ is the name for the traditional Alentejo terracotta amphorae which used to be widely used for winemaking. Until recently you’d see them as decorations at the front of wineries, but af late their use has come back, as winegrowers around the world have begin working with clay.

So I thought I’d publish notes from a blind tasting of wines that have been made in talhas. This tasting was organized at Cortes de Cima by Anna Jorgensen and Hamilton Reis when I was there in September, documenting the making of their Talha wine from the 2019 vintage. [Notes here are as written blind with just minor editing.] Interestingly, the ‘winner’ was a home made wine: there’s a tradition in the region of people making their own wines in an amphora, which is quite cool.

Homemade wine by Galente (I don’t have any other details, except that this was a home made Talha wine)
There’s an interesting stony undercurrent here to the ripe, sweet berry fruits. Has a subtle savoury edge with fresh cherries. Lovely detail here. 93/100

Honrado Talha 2017 Alentejo
Ripe but with some spicy, stony detail. Has red cherries and plums with grainy tannic structure and stony, spicy fruit. Very ripe, but lovely. 91/100

Cortes de Cima Amphora 2016 Alentejo
Ripe and open with easy, sweet cherry fruit. Pure and fruity with nice freshness and some nice stoniness. 91/100

José Sousa Puro Talha 2015 Alentejo
Savoury and stony and a bit earthy. Nice bright cherry and berry fruit with some spicy detail. A little oxidative. 88/100

José Piteira Talha 2016 Alentejo
Lively with a floral, aromatic nose of bright cherries, showing a slightly herby edge. The waxy, stony palate has a savoury quality, but also supple fruit. Intriguing. 90/100

Rocim Amphora 2018 Alentejo
Fresh, linear and mineral with a stony, earthy edge. Nice palate with bright cherry and plum fruit with good brightness and freshness. Savoury and taut with attractive fruit. 92/100

D. Alice Tinto ACV 2017 Alentejo
Ripe, rounded and lively with seductive cherry and plum fruit. Has a grainy, stony undercurrent. Real interest here with a juicy finish. 90/100

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