Mateus Nicolau de Almeida is the fifth generation of a family with long ties to the Douro.
The Almeida clan owned Ramos Pinto and the family is still responsible for the wine making at that reputable Port house; Mateus’ grandfather made Barca Velha, arguably the most iconic and historically important dry wine made in the Douro, paving the way for all that came after him. More recently, in 1994, Mateus’ father, João Nicolau de Almeida, created Quinta do Monte Xisto in a vineyard he planted in Vila Nova Foz da Côa, in the Douro Superior. The Quinta covers nearly 100 acres, with roughly twenty-five acres dedicated to vines. The farming is organic, and biodynamic practices are also used.
The Eremitas wines are named after the early Christian monks known as the desert monks, who isolated themselves in the desert meditating and searching for enlightenment.
This Eremitas, is one of three wines produced from a series of different soil types from the singular variety Rabigato. The ’17 Eremitas Paulo de Tebas is from a south facing parcel of shallow and rocky schist steeply terraced at an elevation of 400 meters above sea level. Rabigato is considered the finest of the white varietals found in the Douro Superior and rarely produced unblended.
The hand picked and sorted grapes go directly into a “calcatórium” (granite basin) followed by a pigeage for 3 hours. The grapes pass then in a vertical press were the juice runs by gravity to concrete vats in the underground cellar with optimal natural temperature and humidity. Spontaneous fermentation is done without temperature control. The wine ages one year in concrete tanks. No oak is utilized.
The aroma is reminiscent of acacia and orange blossom, with gentle garrigue notes and a strongly mineral character; on the palate this brilliant white is dry, intense and precise, and full body with fine acid delineation and balance.