Ricardo Santos is behind XXVI Talhas, which is based in Vidigueira. He and his colleagues have taken over the cellar of Mestre Daniel (Daniel Tabaquinho dos Santos), which has 26 Talhas (ranging in size from 300 to 1200 litres) that have been disused for 30 years (since the death of Mestre Daniel in 1985). The first vintage was 2018, and dry-grown old vines are the source of the grapes. They have been successful in getting the grapes they want because they pay more.
Grapes are destemmed and slightly crushed, then fermented and macerated for two months in talha without any temperature control. Filtration of sorts is through the passing of the wine through the mass of skins at the bottom of the talha when it is tapped. This is from a single old talha of about 1100 litres made in Vila Alva.
XXVI Talhas Mestre Daniel Talha X 2019 Alentejo, Portugal
11.5% alcohol. This is a single talha from a vineyard parcel with a blend of local white varieties. It’s a full gold in colour, this has amazing aromatics of mint, peach, pear, some slight medicinal hints (but in a nice way) and fresh clay. The palate is fresh and bright with green tea, chamomile, pear, lemon peel and earth, with a stony edge and nice bitter hints on the finish. Lovely focus and complexity here: this has so much going on, and a bit of structure as well as good acidity on the finish. It’s what white wine from the region (Vidigueira in the south of the Alentejo) would have tasted like in the past, and it’s really good. 94/100
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