Going underground

Our recent tasting of clay pot wines featured different techniques and styles, and generated a real buzz in the trade

Les Caves' Feats of Clay tasting - at Marylebone's Hellenic Centre - brought together 15 producers and more than 40 wines, all with the distinction of having being vinified in clay pots: qvevri, amphora or tinaja.

These techniques date back to the very earliest days of winemaking, thousands of years ago in the Middle East, so these modern practitioners are benefiting from millennia of unbroken tradition in the production of natural wines.

John Wurdeman is the American founder of Pheasant's Tears, a winery in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, where qvevris - clay pots buried underground to regulate temperature - are used to ferment the wine with no chemical intervention.

The tasting drew an enthusiastic crowd from the wine and restaurant trade and was followed by an entertaining evening's dining at Terroirs. And the event was also covered by Decanter magazine: read associate editor Tina Gellie's pick of the wines here.