Italy has a long tradition of fermenting wine in clay vessels, particularly in the northern part of the country. Known as anfore, orci or giare, they stacked and traveled well in the days before oak barrels.
In fact, in Portugal, making wine this way is known as the “Roman Method”. Read more about an amphora wine from Alentejo DOC Herdade do Rocim here.
Today we have barrels and bottles in which to transport wine but using amphora is still favored to produce wine with certain characteristics and using Italian grapes like Albana (here’s one from Braschi which you can read about here) and Friulano which ripens late and in a heavy bunch.
The terracotta Amphora allows necessary micro oxygenation for an extended skin contact white wine like this one. Because wines made in amphora enjoy extended contact, they have more body and intensity than a typical white wine.
I thought it would be fun to pair a wine fermented in a clay vessel with chicken roasted in a clay vessel, and I suspected that the two would pair well –even though the recipe suggested a California oaked chardonnay!
2017 Visintini Amphora Friulano, Colli Orientali del Friuli DOP
purchased at WineHouse LA
Made in amphora with certified organic Friulano grapes grown on the hills of Corno di Rosazzo on the Southern side of the DOC Friuli Colli Orientali. The Visintini family acquired the property in 1884; today Oliviero and his sisters Cinzia e Palmira run the place using biodynamic practices.
Aroma: Meadow flowers laden with pollen near a hot springs, tangerine, hint of mint.
Palate: Dry with balanced acidity, alcohol, fruit. Textured body with tangerine and light mint. Long complex finish haunted with mint at the back of the palate.
Pairing: The herbal notes and citrus in the chicken matched well with those notes in the wine. The wine had plenty of body, texture, and complexity to work with the meal but also added brightness to contrast with the rich chicken and vegetables cooked in the juices (note: the organic air chilled chicken was not overly fatty). Sure it’s easy to find an oaked chardonnay to pair with roast chicken but this was so very interesting and satisfying without being too heavy or rich.
Römertopf Roasted Herbed Lemon Chicken with Root Vegetables
- 4# organic air chilled chicken
- 4 T salt combine with 1 T pepper
- 1 shallot, peeled and split
- Handfull thyme, oregano, rosemary
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 8 small potatoes, quartered
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- 12 ounce bag “baby” “rainbow” carrots
- Fill lid of clay roaster with water; set aside for 30 minutes
- Remove giblets; set aside for another purpose.
- Rub chicken with salt and pepper; save remainder
- Stuff chicken with herbs, shallot, lemon
- Place root vegetables in bottom of roaster; toss with seasonings
- Nestle chicken in vegetables.
- Empty water from lid and place on roaster.
- Set roaster in cold oven; set temperature at 425.
- After approximately 50 minutes, check temperature.
- When 125 degrees, remove lid and continue roasting.
- When 155 degrees, remove from oven to rest; temperature will continue to rise to 165 degrees.
Wine is being made in amphora in the new world and in the old with ceramicists like Andrew Beckham making vessels to ferment his grapes in Oregon (read about that here) and Troon in Southern Oregon fermented Vermentino in several in 2020 which I’m drooling over (pictured below).
So keep an eye out for wine made in amphora, both white and red, from near and far!
For more ideas, check out these posts from the other Wine Pairing Weekend participants below as well as our chat at 8am Pacific on Saturday August 14 by searching for the hashtag #WinePW– discussion questions follow.
- A Clay-Made Dinner: Ceramic Grill and Amphora Wine by Jeff Burrows on Food Wine Click!
- A Surprising Find: Amphora Wines in Temecula, California by Terrie Oliver Steffes on Our Good Life
- Hundred Suns Wine’s Amphora-Aged Gamay Noir, Flame-Grilled Foods, and Our First Post-Pandemic Dinner Party by Camilla Mann on Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Küp Calm & Pair on: Turkish Amphora Wines by Andrea Lemieux on The Quirky Cork
- Made in Clay From Near and Far: Italy’s Organic Visintini Amphora Friulano Paired with Römertopf Roasted Chicken #WinePW by Gwendolyn Alley on Wine Predator.
- Memories of My First Amphora Aged Wine from Josko Gravner by Susannah Gold on Avvinare
- Tasting and Pairing Amphora Wines byDavid Crowley on Cooking Chat
- The Mind-Bending Wines of Golden Cluster by Nicole Ruiz Hudson on Somm’s Table
- Tomato and Eggplant Tian paired with Two Amphora Wines from Portugal by Wendy Klik on A Day in the Life on the Farm
You’re invited to join our #WinePW August #Amphora twitter chat Saturday August 14. All times Pacific.
- Q1 8am Welcome to the #WinePW chat on #Amphora Wine! Introduce yourself please! Where are you tweeting from? Share a link to your website!
- Q2 805a Long before wine was made in oak barrels and stainless steel, people shaped clay into fermentation vessels which they buried in the earth. Was this ancient method new or familiar to you? Share a link if you’ve written about #amphora wine before. #WinePW
- Q3 810a Today this ancient method is made around the world. Names include:
Italy: Anfore, orci or giare
Was it hard finding a clay fermented wine? Where did your wine come from and what is it called there? #WinePW
- Q4 815a What did you learn about wine made in #Amphora that surprised you? #WinePW
- Q5 820a Tell us more about the wine you chose. Red? White? Both? Link? #WinePW
- Q6 825a How is wine made in #amphora different to you than other fermentation methods? #WinePW
- Q7 830a How did your pair your #Amphora wine? Did you do a dish traditional to the region or inspired by it? Please share pictures. #WinePW
- Q8 835a How did your #Amphora wine pairing turn out? #WinePW
- Q9 840a What did you learn about pairing food with wine made in #Amphora? What food pairing will you try next time? #WinePW
- Q10 845a So be honest: are you a fan of wine made in #Amphora or is just for wine geeks? Why? #WinePW
- Q11 850a Will you seek out more clay fermented wine? #WinePW
- Q12 855a Shout out to participants and open discussion time! Any questions? What else did you learn about #amphora you’d like to share? #WinePW
- Q13 9a Thank you for joining the #WinePW chat on #Amphora Wine from Around the World. On the second Saturday in September, please join @artpredator again for #organic Wine. Learn more here: https://wp.me/pj3XZ-7XG