We then asked Adam how he’s using Magnum ceramic vessels.
“We have four Magnum – two 43 litre and two 675 litre versions. We’re using the 675 Magnum as fermentation vessels for 2014 Block 7 Chardonnay and are pretty excited about the whole thing.
The difference is the Magnum ‘egg’ shape. What you get out of an egg is evenness. It provides convection that’s slightly magical. With a barrel you have to stir the lees…
Magnum blew us away – we invested 2-3 tonnes of Chardonnay – around 3 tonnes of grape – most going into the eggs with half a tonne going into barrel… and used it as a
yardstick to show the difference.”
What did you use the 43s for – did they lead you to the 675s?
“43s were good – one season, one wine was the eye-opener. It gave us a guide. I was blown away – it pushed the boundaries – green colour – very textural (which is one of the hardest things in wine to get right).
In the egg, we got a nice set of results – it pushed the science boundaries.”
What characteristics were you looking for from vitreous/clay?
“That’s yet to be defined – probably more in mid-palette – the wine seems to be ‘richer’. Phenolics, extraction of potential flavour – usually you try to minimise phenolics in whites. With Magnum eggs it’s exceptionally high in phenolics, it pushes the boundaries. It extracts them and oxidises them out, giving a richer palette. It challenges [accepted] science.
Fermenting skins in clay for weeks – it has a beautiful, textural quality. The approach of having skins in there becomes an emotional thing. You have to be headstrong.
Ask yourself ‘is there really a difference?’ The industry needs a buzz. It’s a huge point of difference.”
What style are you promoting?
“Some winemakers can be too loose. I like to push the boundaries – but not too far. It’s liquid architecture – via the egg.
I’ve got my finger on it – so it’s clean. There’s microbial stability – it has to be consistent.
With eggs, the flavour index over time is very consistent, as opposed to oak.
We hope to create some sort of movement for Chardonnay with this type of winemaking.”