Usually, vinification and ageing processes happen in stainless steel or concrete vats and oak. But in recent years, this 8,000 years-old technique has (re)appeared in many wineries. Journey to the land of the terracotta.
Far from being a new technique, the use of amphorae is a method dating back to the roman era. They are made of clay, come in different sizes and can be used for fermentation and/or ageing of wines, both red and white.
Azienda Agricola COS winery in Sicily (Italy) →
The terracotta jars are mainly used by winemakers engaged in a biodynamic approach as it limits the interventions of any kind: no inputs, no oenological corrections. Everything happens in the most natural way. The porosity of the terracotta gives the must a regular oxygenation, like the oak barrel, but on the contrary of the latter, it does not add any taste. They also reduce the acidity and round the tannins without altering the natural taste of the wine.
Our recommendation – E. Foradori Teroldego Rotaliano 2016
Elisabetta Foradori is a winemaker in Trentino Alto Adige in northern Italy. In her cellar you may find about 70 amphoras, which is quite a lot! She enjoys working with clay and believes that the wines get a cleaner flavour if they are raised in a terracotta amphora. The estate is run following biodynamic principles and is known for its wines made from local grape teroldego.
Strong and generous wine with scents of red flowers, violets, spices and wild berries. On the palate it is round, fresh, agile and fruity with a discrete bitter almond finish.
🍽 Ideal with traditional Italian dishes such as pizza or pasta.
🍇 100% Teroldego
The use of terracotta may be an ancestral method but there are more and more wineries that experiment small batches in amphorae. To give you a few names, Château Montus from the domaine Brumont (article here) and Château Pape Clément both have a few jars for testing.
Let us know if you tried any wines raised in amphorae. We’re always happy to discover more!