The terracotta amphora, a valid alternative to wood. dagri’s study published in the magazine “Mille Vigne”

2023/08/26     / / / / / / / / / / / / /

The role of the material: how the container influences the style of a red wine.
The material of the container interacts with the quality and style of red wines. A study has analysed the differences in the aging of Sangiovese in wood, steel, concrete and terracotta containers


In the production process of a red wine, aging plays a fundamental role in obtaining a stable and long-lasting product. During this process, the type of wine vessel used, directly affects the final characteristics of the product as it can modulate the permeation of oxygen and the release of compounds such as tannins and/or metals. These compounds can interact with the wine matrix with consequences on the characteristics and style of the product, stimulating a series of redox reactions involving mainly the polyphenolic compounds, with consequent stabilization of the colour.

Traditionally, oak barrels are considered one of the best choices for enhancing colour stability and style of the wine. However, today there is a wide range of options for aging and, in addition to wood, it is possible to opt for uncoated or coated concrete tanks, terracotta or ceramic amphorae, containers made of stoneware and “cocciopesto” (terracotta that has been finely ground and re-mixed). While they are already widely used, on the other hand, there are few scientific works and/or technical reports available relating to their characterization and influence on the chemical-physical parameters of the wine and on its perceived quality (sensory profile).

For this purpose, a study was recently conducted to monitor and evaluate the impact of wine vessels made of different materials on the chemical and sensory characteristics of a varietal wine (Sangiovese base, Chianti DOCG), setting up an experimental aging test of twelve months (Maioli et al., 2022; Guerrini et al., 2022). The materials under study were stainless steel (AI), cement with epoxy coating (CR), uncoated cement (CNR), uncoated terracotta amphora (AT), oak barrel new (BN), used oak barrel (5 years) (BU) and a glass bottle (BV) for reference. Furthermore, a part of the wine from each vat was bottled after six months of aging and kept in the bottle.



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