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Just in time for Easter, one Napa winery celebrates concrete egg tanks
Sneak inside Domaine Carneros’ cellar and you will find an egg-cellent treat. Standing six feet tall and weighing 2,000 pounds is a concrete egg-shaped tank covered in pastels and stenciled bunnies.
It’s not an Easter gimmick but rather the Napa winery’s secret to its most prized wines. Winemaker TJ Evans credits the egg’s concrete walls and round shape with enhancing the minerality of his wines, like the limited production 2010 Domaine Carneros Pinot Clair ($48), which its exotic tropical aromas, sweet, round palate and mouth-watering acidity.
Fermenting in stainless steel creates bright, sharp, and edgy flavors because the wine does not breathe. Oak barrels, by contrast, are more porous and impart a lot of oak character. But concrete is the happy medium, allowing just enough porosity for a richer, more layered wine.
Concrete tanks are nothing new. In fact, as we reported in 2011, concrete has been used by winemakers for centuries and has made a comeback in recent years. Domaine Carneros purchased their egg in 2009. It is made from washed sand and gravel from the Loire Valley and holds three barrels, or 189 gallons, of wine.
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