Amphora wine pioneer Josko Gravner has released his latest vintages, and today they are available via Italian Wine Merchants. The 2008 Breg Anforae and 2008 Ribolla Gialla Anfora are amber wines that spent at least five months in large clay pots before being transferred to wooden barrels for another six years. The 2006 Pinot Grigio Riserva is also an an amber wine, but it is aged entirely in buried amphorae, no oak, and then bottled without fining or filtration.
Compared to barrel-aged wines which take on more of the surrounding oak flavors, the flavors in amphora-aged wines are very pristine. The amphora process enables winemakers to create wines that truly express their terroir.
If you’re starting out on amphora wines, Gravner’s are a good benchmark to start with. But if you haven’t had them yet, be prepared that amphorae wines aren’t for everyone. Along with an extreme clarity of flavor, wines aged in amphora are characterized by pretty grippy tannins, high acidity, and especially in the Old World varieties, pretty mineral-driven.
To learn more about Gravner, check out his spotlight in the Wall Street Journal back in 2010 — looks like that vintage he talked about is finally out!