Clive Hartley

It is not always easy to compare apples with apples. But I got the opportunity recently to look at two identical wines – one aged in oak and the other in a clay amphora.

Goodwill wines (a bit about them later) have sourced a 2019 Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc blend from the Yarra Valley for the exercise on examining how the different winemaking approaches affected the wine. Amphoras are one current craze sweeping across the country. Respected winemakers such as Robin Brockett from Scotchmans Hill winery has used one to ferment a Shiraz for his private label and NSW winemaker Nick Spencer has a couple. So what was the difference? Plenty. The amphora wine produced an abundance of sweet red fruits with a touch of earth and was more pointed with noticeable acidity, yet savoury. The French oak wine had the same fruit profile but displayed the benchmark cedar, mint and menthol characters and was elegant and round. Tannins came through on the smooth and elegant finish. Compared to the amphora it was familiar and comfortable. It is recommended that you decant the amphora wine as it was a little closed and even taste the wine a couple of days after opening it. But not many people have wine left that long!

Clive Hartley

I’d recommend trying the comparison. The wines are sold through the Goodwill wines website. What is more of an incentive is that a massive 50% of all sales go to numerous charities. Owner David Laity suffered badly from the Black Saturday Victorian fires. What followed was a small grant from the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal which he used to start a wine business to repay the generosity of others. Through sales of wines, the business has now donated over half a million dollars to charity.

Clive Hartley is a local award-winning wine writer, educator and consultant. His Australian Wine Guide (7th ed) is available for purchase from Paradise Books in Daylesford or through his website –

This is the first in a series of monthly wine columns which Clive is writing for The Wombat Post.