It’s quite the thing to ferment your wine in a concrete egg these days. Sound like a strange idea to you? Well – concrete has been used in wineries for a long time. It’s less reductive than stainless steel (as it breathes) and so reputedly produces wines that are a little softer and more balanced. The lack of corners means that every part of the wine remains at a more constant temperature and most importantly of all, the lees remains in suspension in the wine adding complexity and depth. Ageing a wine in a concrete egg allows gentle micro-oxygenation (like when using oak barrels), without the addition of any complicating aromas and flavours that come about with wood contact. So, arguably the resulting wine is a more pure expression.
Concrete eggs are popular with organic and bio-dyanimic producers who love the natural womb-like shape. We’ve tasted some great wines that have been egg-fermented and there’s something rather calming about them. They feel lovely and look like they come from another age.
Today’s photo was taken in the new winery of Jérémie Mourat in the Fiefs Vendéens. The eggs are reserved for their organic wines and are quite a sight.