There’s a theory that concrete eggs help the wine move in a cohesive way and allows the lees to mix with the body of the wine. Stainless steel are completely inert and Amphorae are the oldest vessel wine has been produced in.
The Amphorae are buried (generally but not always),and the temperature is at a constant . They “historically” limited oxygenation but these days there is also a slight permeability to the clay vessels which allow micro oxygenation just like oak. They are also popular for the making of minimal intervention wines.
M&S Rkatsiteli is as good a place as any to start with Georgian qvevri wine
I started with that in 2015, and that finished qvevri and orange wines for me.
I like Rkatsiteli as a dry white wine; I did not like the qyevri wine I had. I am willing to believe they are not all like that, but there are so many standard wines that I do like, I won’t be spending money finding out.
The only places I have ever seen COS wines in the UK are Buon Vino in the Yorkshire Dales and Ten Green Bottles in Brighton. They start about £20, so absolutely not everyday drinking wines. But worth the money if you can afford it.
That’s where I got mine from. But at £26 (slightly inflated, methinks!) it’s definitely not an everyday purchase, as you say. Which is a bit strange, because for me Cerasuolo di Vittoria should be an everyday drinking wine…
Incidentally, Seven Cellars in Brighton also stock COS from time to time. Currently they have the Frappato and the Pithos Bianco in stock.
There is a potential for synonymising Qvevri-fermented and/or matured wines with white-skinned wine made in a red wine style aka amber wines. Both can be entities without the other. It surely is just because the original wines made from white skinned grapes needed to be macerated and / or fermented on-skin in order for the tannins to provide preservative properties on wines which were exposed to oxidative challenges in days before we had modern fermenting and bottling techniques; and the corollary is that they only had terracotta vessels available in which to do the wine-making process.
For me the two go hand-in-hand only so far as if there is to be amber wine the only logical way to make it is in olden-style otherwise what’s the point.
Peter M’s stance on amber wine is fair enough; it’s not to everybody’s taste and I didn’t particularly care for it until my Damoscene encounter in Georgia and the realisation that it was another dimension in the wine portfolio. It’s not white wine as we know it nor is it red. It tastes a bit oxidative and mainly of stewed or baked apples, but there is definitely a place for it in my wine/food matching repertoire.
However, harking back to the original question, what it is about amphorae as a fermentation / maturation vessel that is distinct, I would (for fear or upsetting the monitors on this forum) refer you to Viv Stanshall’s closing comments on the last track on Tubular Bells (original version).
Micro-oxygenation - I can buy that, and a steady, fixed temperature when buried will all play a part. I suspect the bit about moving in a “cohesive way” is up there with burying horns and howling at the moon… (IMHO)
My understanding is that it’s all about the shape (and there’s no logic in using eggs for standard pressed juice whites) in that the cap naturally collapses and recirculates without the need for pump-over or pushing down which reduces oxidative contact with the must. But maybe the various winemakers who’ve told me that were lying.