Amphora wine-making, the fermenting and ageing of wines in clay vessels based on ancient designs, is fast becoming a notable trend across the world’s wine regions. Years ago, we dug up clay on the farm and got a local potter to handcraft and fire our first amphorae, and we’ve been making amphora wine ever since. Nothing could have suited Avondale’s ethos of slow, traditional wine-making better than these clay pot vessels, hewn from the earth, with heritage that stretches back thousands of years to before Ancient Greece and Rome.
Over the years, amphora wines have made a notable, fruit-driven contribution to a number of Avondale’s premium wines. Properly fired between 1100 and 1300 degrees, the clay vessels allow for a unique micro-oxygenation. Oak barrels are also somewhat porous and allow this, but in return they infuse the wine with their woody flavors – something ceramics do not do. Stainless steel is impervious to micro-oxygenation, and that has its own effect on the wines.
We find that the beauty of the amphorae’s subtle breath makes for wines with bright, unadulterated fruit and minerality, and softer tannin structures. They are ideal vessels for the whole-bunch fermented, slow-made wines where the focus is on giving the wine time and opportunity to clearly express its true grape character.
While amphora wines may be a current trend for some, Avondale has been making it and blending portions of it into a number of our premium wines for years. Currently available releases such as Cyclus 2014 and Anima 2015 are uniquely enlivened with portions of amphora wine. We will also soon release Avondale Amphora, a wine made of 100% Mourvèrde grapes in a Beaujolais style. The wine will be made available to pre-order from the Avondale’s Members Club. So if you are not yet a member, this is a good time to sign up here and make sure you are on our pre-order list. Contact us for more info here.