I realise that most of the time it’s hard to explain the amount of efforts that is hidden behind those words without going too much into viticulture/vinification details. But in this case it’s quite an example easy to understand. So…
As you know, before the second fermentation a still wine (“vin clair”) could be vinified in an oak barrel, in a stainless steel tank etc. One of the options is a ceramic vessel (amphora, egg), made of clay. Many companies in the world sell it and all you have to do is just to order a ready-made solution. And that what Marie-Laure and Alexandre could have chosen.
Well, instead, they chose a local clay pit that existed since the beginning of the 20th century in Villenauxe-la-Grande, but in 2016 had to completely suspend its activity due to the world’s globalisation. The clay that was extracted was famous for its purity and, instead of buying a ready vessel, Marie-Laure and Alexandre decided to buy the clay that was left in stock and make the “eggs” to have a connection with the grapes of the terroir.
And if you think that all it takes is to simply make an egg in a local workshop, you’re wrong. First, find a company that can build it and, believe me, it’s a nightmare. Everyone wants to use the raw material they used to - less problems. Second, numerous chemical analyses to build a prototype to see what impact it may have on the wine. Third, variety of options: the egg could be designed to give more oxidative notes, or, on the contrary, “breathe” less that an oak barrel.
Long story short, it a long and difficult way to go and I have so much respect that they had chosen it.
I had a chance to taste the still wines from those eggs. Iodine notes, almost granular touch on the finish, freshness - really liked that sensation.
👏 I can only respect such an approach of being terroir-driven to the end! It was a great experience to hear the story.