WINE IN AMPHORA VS WINE IN BARRELS: WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?
2015/11/05 aging wine / artenova / Barbera wine / Crealto / flavour / fragrances / making wine / maturation stage / organic wines / oxygenation / sulphites / terracotta and wine / wine in amphorae / wine in barrels / wine in terracotta / winemaker
Here is the interview in English published by “Il Giornale del Cibo” with winemaker Luigi Armanino (Crealto)
(Ilaria De Lillo “ Il Giornale del Cibo “ 02/11/15 )
The interest in the philosophy of wine and the need for experimentation to enrich our lives with new pleasures, new bottles, new flavours and fragrances to choose from, have stimulated today a discussion on wine in amphora, a subject in continuous evolution. There are those who speak of it as a fashion, those of a renewed approach to wine-making, in either case wine in terracotta has become a “plus” that has been taken up by several Italian wineries. Luigi Armanino, winemaker and technical specialist in the field, analyzed the differences between the same wine aged in amphora and in a 15 hectolitre oak barrel, taking into consideration only the maturation stage of the wine.
What are the differences between wine in amphora and wine in barrels?
Luigi Armanino: “Comparing the same wine with these two different aging procedures it is immediately clear that the flavour/fragrance profile changes a lot. First of all in the amphora wine, the scent of wood that we are so used to perceiving in wines aged in barrels or large casks isn’t there. In its place we find nuances of minerals, often a little ‘ethereal but in any case complex, together with an intense flavour in the mouth and a velvety softness, probably due to oxygenation and, perhaps, a slight transfer of potassium from the terracotta which lowered the natural acidity of the Barbera wine “.
How did you get the idea to do a thesis on wine in amphorae?
LA: “It came to me with the desire to produce a wine in terracotta and at the same time with a need to have some specific scientific data which is completely missing in the wine scene. An analysis was conducted every few months by a winemaker, both through the tasting of the wine and through its chemical analysis. He compared the same wine he was ageing in Terracotta, in barriques and in large barrels of 15 hl. He analysed the wine for oxygen, colour fastness, sulphites and the presence or absence of heavy metals and their eventual measurement”
Today, is it a fad or a real plus for those who enjoy wine?
LA: “There is no denying that especially in the niche of organic wines, there is an ever increasing usage of this particular wine vessel, however you certainly cannot reduce the choice to use it for fashion only: Terracotta is a valuable tool for making or aging wine a valid alternative to wood. ”
In Italy is there already a culture of wine in amphorae?
LA: “The landscape is fairly immature: many non-experts in the industry do not even suspect the existence of terracotta as a material for aging let alone for making wine.”
Can wine in amphorae become the beverage of special occasions?
LA: “Yes, I would definitely say so, clearly it depends on the type of wine and how it’s made, but I think the production of wine in amphorae is likely to increase.”
Have you readers ever tasted wine made in amphora? Do you like the idea?