Interviews, Winery Feature

5 Thing To Know About Champagne Tarlant’s Amphorae Champagne

Ever heard about wines aged in amphoras? In 2012, siblings Benoit and Melanie Tarlant began experimenting and finally creating an absolutely breathtaking Champagne – the Argilité 2012. Only 170 bottles of this was produced, vinified in Amphora. As for why they decided to start on a project like this, let’s hear it from the Tarlants themselves.

1. What’s the reason you started to make Champagne using amphoras?

There are several reasons why we started using amphora. The amphora was the first means of vinification, used in Georgia for 8000 years. Today Georgian people continue to use amphoras for their wines. We wanted to try this never-ending tradition in our wines and introducing amphora in the Champagne vinification. After travels and discussions whit people that already used amphora for their still wines the idea of trying that for Champagne born in us, and the curiosity of connecting something earthly and concrete like clay and terracotta, with the most aerial wine, the champagne with its bubbles.

2. How about the differences between amphora and barrel?

First, our wines make both, first fermentation and maturation, in amphora or oak barrel. The technical terms clay (amphora) and wood (barrel) are two materials that allow the micro-oxygenation of wine. Clay, contrary to wood, doesn’t release aromas into wine. The grape aromas are pure and intact.

3. Which are the characteristics of making Champagne using amphora?

The fragility of terra-cotta makes the kind of vinification very sensitive. Since the arrival of amphoras at the Domaine, in 2011, the first pots were already broken upon arrival. We figured out that we should have been thorough in every movement of pots. The micro-oxygenation of clay let us understand that we had to follow almost daily the wine level to avoid some dangerous oxidation or deviation of wine. Amphoras ask to be followed and cared for.

4. How to recognize a Champagne vinified in amphora?

The wines obtained are so special: the taste reveals a sort of ‘matter’ in mouth, like tannins, without astringency; like clay, without minerality. A kind of roughness that caresses the entire palate. That’s the reason for the name ‘Argilité’, to explain this new sensation that we don’t know exactly how to describe.

5. What does the future hold for Argilite?

Argilité is a very special Champagne with a very small production, just a few hundred bottles per year.

Champagne Tarlant Argilite 2012 (Now $368, U.P. $414.00)

In 2012, siblings Benoit and Melanie Tarlant began experimenting and finally creating an absolutely breathtaking Champagne – the Argilité 2012. Only 170 bottles of this was produced, vinified in Amphora, where the blend of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Meunier is slow pressed by gravity, and left alone for spontaneous fermentation for 7 months on the lees in red clay amphorae from Terres d’autan. The juice is then aged for 50 months on lees in the bottle and finally disgorged on 5 June 2017.


See other wines from Champagne Tarlant here!

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