Why amphorae ?
In the eyes of many visitors, the amphorae of Château de Birazel are the pearls of the winery. Airy and majestic, these 750-litre clay jars welcome them under a soft but spectacular light. Their matt texture beckons to be caressed and their perfect ovoid shape, dictated by the antique golden ratio, evokes a womb. For a few days or several months, the wine grows and matures in that body.
The amphora plays a crucial role in biodynamic viticulture (which values the natural dynamics of wine), as it allows interventions and corrections to be kept to a minimum.
Here again, we sourced the best. These marvels of both ancient know-how and technology are the work of Italian ceramist TAVA, who was able to correct the potential defects of this container, particularly in terms of health safety and maintenance. TAVA is proud that its amphora is now “the only 100% natural clay container that guarantees the absence of heavy metal contamination and has no impact on the pH and acidity of wines”.
The amphora plays a crucial role in biodynamic viticulture (which values the natural dynamics of wine), as it allows interventions and corrections to be kept to a minimum. The must is micro-oxygenated thanks to the calibrated porosity of the clay. Unlike oak barrels, the purified terracotta amphorae are neutral in taste and smell, and round out the tannins. Partially closed, they retain the carbon dioxide from fermentation and the wide opening of TAVA amphorae allows for full vinification.
Already 6000 years ago, Greeks, Romans and Gauls used the amphora to store and transport their wine, but also other basic products such as water, oil or beer. Its history goes back even further, since it was used for winemaking six millennia before our era in the Caucasus, where it was buried in houses and closed with a wooden or stone disc. To make and age their wine, the Romans used large earthenware jars of about 3,000 litres, which were up to two metres tall and were buried in the gardens of their houses. A question of climate, no doubt…
In France, as in Italy and Spain, the modern supporters of amphorae vinification and maturation also argue that, not being constrained by any angle, the wine expresses itself more freely. In any case, this is exactly what we are aiming for.