Terracotta army: 15 amphora wines to try

Amphorae in Zorah winery in Armenia
Amphorae in Zorah winery, Armenia.

Amphora wines have an incredibly long history: the clay amphora was used for winemaking in Georgia (where it is known as a ‘qvevri’) at least as far back as 8,000 years ago, according to the archaeological record.

In ancient Greece (‘pithos’) and Rome (‘dolium’), clay vessels were used both for producing and transporting wine. Spain (‘tinajas’) and Portugal (‘talhas’) also have very long traditions of using clay vessels for winemaking.

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for 15 great amphora wines from Armenia, Italy, Croatia, Portugal and Austria

Amphorae for winemaking come in many sizes, from 250-litres to several thousand-litres, and can be made from several different types of clay. These porous containers are essentially egg-shaped vessels where the grape juice is pressed and fermented, remaining in contact with the grape skins for an extended period of time ranging from just a few days up to several years.