Amphora leaks getting sealed
Fermenting in the vineyard dirt
Science changing potter's role
by PHILIP WHITE
When I told him that yes, Yangarra has plenty of clay, he was down here in a flash, taking samples. Buckets of it, from different parts of the big vineyard. Manager and chief winemaker Peter Fraser was right into the idea, as he was already trialling modern commercial "egg" fermenters in place of steel or oak, and spectacularly with Roussanne. The stoic and bemused vineyard genius, Michael Lane, suddenly found himself making large mud pies with the back hoe.
Like blending wine, see?
"The initial test batch of smaller vessels held approximately 20 litres and specifically were a porosity test," he explains. "Some of them were later refired to be less porous as we decided what to do. The higher porosity vessels, which could be compared to ancient ceramic, sweated water copiously and were not suitable containers for the storage of expensive wine. Porous vessels may have a role to play in maceration where you want to have it breathing, but there's a lot more research required there.
And as for the Yangarra wines?