Terracotta in The Douro – The Story of Quinta dos Murças Ânfora

Terracotta in The Douro – The Story of Quinta dos Murças Ânfora

Every year, at Quinta dos Murças, we experiment with new methods to find other interpretations of our terroirs, seeking different expressions of the character and nature of this privileged place, located on the right bank of the Douro river.

This was how the idea emerged to vinify wine in terracotta amphorae, which present extremely special characteristics. Terracotta intervenes in a highly unique manner, and wines crafted this way present extremely prevalent fruit and a great sensation of freshness. We chose the Quinta dos Murças Minas vineyards due to the presence of water, resulting in greater acidity, a feature we wanted to accentuate. Regarding the vinification process, the grapes were placed inside the amphorae almost whole and left for several days for spontaneous fermentation. The winemaker José Luís Moreira da Silva adds: “Following fermentation, they were left almost until November, when they were racked off the gross lees, the pomace was pressed and the resulting mass was returned to the amphorae until May, when the wine was bottled.”

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Making wine in amphorae is above all an exercise in restraint, resisting the temptation to intervene. The safest way to vinify is to add sulphurs and control the fermenting mass, but an amphora wine requires the process to develop as naturally as possible. “Evidently this wine has more uncommon notes, but it presents a very unique identity and characteristics.”

Innovation always makes more sense when it is rooted in knowledge from the past, letting us reinterpret the story we want to tell. Using amphorae to store wine was a practise applied in ancient civilisations – Greek, Roman and Etruscan, which used terracotta to save the fruit from their harvests.

Impruneta, in the Italian region of Tuscany, is a municipality in Italy that produces high quality terracotta, globally recognized since the Renaissance. It was precisely in this city that the amphorae used for Quinta dos Murças Ânfora were made, leading to a surprising harmony between wine and nature.

“Both in the origin, where the organic vineyards strive to re-establish their natural balance, and in the winery, where we aim to intervene as little as possible throughout the process, Ânfora is a true expression of our interpretation of the essence of our vines.”

Quinta dos Murças Ânfora is our first DOC Douro vinified in amphorae, an edition connected to the land where it grows, limited to only 800 litres and exclusively available in the Wine Tourism shops at Quinta dos Murças at Herdade do Esporão. To taste it is to experience a wine that understands who we are, where we come from and where we’re going.