20 Nov The ancient way of making and storing wine is back again
Ancient Rome played a pivotal role in the history of wine. The earliest influences on the viticulture of the Italian peninsula can be traced to ancient Greeks and the Etruscans. The rise of the Roman Empire saw both technological advances in and burgeoning awareness of winemaking, which spread to all parts of the empire. The Roman belief that wine was a daily necessity made the drink “democratic” and ubiquitous; in various forms, it was available to slaves, peasants, women and aristocrats alike. To ensure the steady supply of wine to Roman soldiers and colonists, viticulture and wine production spread to every part of the empire. After pressing, the grape must was stored in large earthenware jars known as dolia. With a capacity of up to several thousand liters, these jars were often partially buried into the floors of a barn or warehouse. Fermentation took place in the dolium, lasting from two weeks to a month before the wine was removed and put in amphoras for storage. Small holes drilled into the top allowed the carbon dioxide gas to escape.
Aging wines in earthenware also showed surprising results. The porosity of the clay increases the oxygen exposure to wines while they age. Oxygen accelerates the tertiary flavor development which includes softening tannins and increasing aromas of nuts, baked fruit, and chocolate. The increased levels of dissolved oxygen in the amphora wines meant they are ready in about half the time of the wines aged in oak. Wood barrels date back to the Middle Ages and they were preferred to ” terracotta” for greater safety and lightness in transportation and handling. We decided,at Villa Le Piazzole, to start experimenting by filling an ” ornate terracotta Impruneta jar ” with our pure San Giovese .
In late spring, our friends will be invited to assess the outcome of the trial, compared to wine “Aged in barriques” !!!! with our San Giovese in purity, an Ornate Terracotta Impruneta. In late spring, our friends will be invited to assess the outcome of the trial, compared to wine “Aged in barriques” !