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Hamilton Russell embraces amphorae
11 May 2012 by Gabriel Savage, www.thedrinksbusiness.com
South African producer Hamilton Russell Vineyards is finding that
experiments with clay amphorae are creating wines with improved
structure than those matured in barrels.
Since 2005, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley property has been experimenting with the fermentation and maturation of a small proportion of its Chardonnay in these amphorae.
“It’s not a completely biodynamic thing,” explained owner Anthony Hamilton Russell of the motivation behind this project. He pointed instead to the benefits of this technique, saying: “It’s the same air exchange as a barrel but without the flavour of oak.”
Emphasising the effect as “not so much a taste thing as a structural thing,” Hamilton Russell praised the way these amphorae “enable the wine to develop without vanillins and tannins.” In particular he observed: “It’s the best way to handle those old Chardonnay parcels.”
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