The Wine Advocate tasting notes 95 rating
The 2016 Astronauta Vinho de Talha Portuguese Wine is a field blend, mostly old-vines (80 years) Moreto aged in clay amphorae. The winery describes the process this way: "Total skin and stems fermented and clay aged. Sealed inside with resin and honey wax, protected on top with olive oil, Roman style. [It spent] six months on the amphora, 18 months on steel." It comes in at 14.5% alcohol.
This is beautiful on all fronts. It has velvet for texture, serious tannins and dried strawberry/cherry flavors on the finish. There's a touch of garrigue, too, and a nod to restrained Grenache. Focused, precise and long on the finish, this is also brilliantly structured. It's not impossibly hard, but it is nowhere near ready. The tannins stop short of truly astringent, but they are too much right now. It's penetrating on the finish too.
Overall, this is tightly wound and very precise—and very much in need of a few years in the cellar to become more expressive and harmonious. It should improve over the next several years, and it should age well. There were just 1,300 bottles produced.
WINEMAKER, Aníbal Jose Coutinho Jose Piteira
CULTIVAR, Vieilles Vignes de Moreto, autochtone du Alentejo
ALCOHOL, 14,5 % vol.
WINEMAKING, Natural grappe entière wine. Fermentation, 6 months in roman
1000 litres amphora. 1 year in stainless steel vat. 6 months of bottle