Pax Mahle’s enormous eggs

pax egg
When I bumped into Pax Mahle earlier this year at his Sonoma wine making facility, I told him I wanted to see his eggs. Fortunately, he didn’t drop his drawers. Instead, he took me to his fermentation room where he had a massive pair of cement egg-shaped fermenters!

Pax used to make full-throttle wines, syrahs and pinots mostly, that scored big Parker points. Then, in what might be another stop in our “Road to Damascus” series (see Wells Guthrie), he grew tired of the style at around the time he had a falling out with his financial backer, bringing an end to the Pax label. His new label, Wind Gap, offers lower-octane wines thanks in part to cool vineyard sites as well as the changing tastes of the wine maker. “My tastes tend to prefer a lighter style,” he told me, adding that his favorite wine of his on that warm June day was is his Trousseau Gris. Unfortunately, I didn’t have an appointment with him and he was heading out so I didn’t have a chance to taste his wines. Just to see the eggs.

Of note, he said that he has won back the Pax name and will be releasing about 700 cases of wine under the Pax label. Wind Gap makes about 3,000 cases of wine a year.

Anyway, after a trip to the Republic of Georgia, Alice Feiring wonks out and informs us that to be über wine geeky, we should call amphora by the Georgian name of qvevri!

Another Pax egg shot (mine) and video (found on youtube) after the jump.

pax eggs

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9 Responses to “Pax Mahle’s enormous eggs”


  1. he still makes big boys under the Agharta label.. 2004 spent 50 months in 100% new oak or something.. 98 RP


  2. Linden Vineyards in Virginia has one of these that they call CuveEgg (or somesuch). They only got it a year or two ago and are still experimenting with how to use it. So far, I think they’ve used it for chardonnay from the Avenius Vineyard.


  3. Doc,
    Have you seen the Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chard 2010, the ceramic bottle reflects the cement tanks.


  4. The Adelaide Hills biodynamic winery Ngeringa also uses Nomblot concrete egg fermenters.

    Apparently the egg fermenter is built using Pythagoras’ Golden Mean. Erinn Klein, winemaker at Ngeringa, believes that the egg shape encourages a flowing energy, practically keeping the lees more easily in suspension, and, esoterically, enhancing the vibrancy of the wine!

    http://www.cellarit.com.au/wine-blog/biodynamic-wine-making/ngeringa-a-wholistic-approach-to-winemaking


  5. [...] Vino checks out Pax Mahle’s enormous [...]


  6. Stone? Cement, surely (technically it’s concrete). The fad turnover must have winemakers’ heads spinning. Only a few years ago the truncated cone was the rage and I heard many splendid explanations of why it was the best of all possible designs–although none of them included Pythagoras.


  7. Also check out Saracina’s interesting use of amphorae – great photos

    http://winecountrygeographic.blogspot.com/2011/08/in-department-of-whats-old-is-new-again.html

    AND

    http://leslieceramics.blogspot.com/2010/12/ceramic-wine-fermenting-tanks.html

    This is way cool and turned into an art project to boot!

    Lots of producers are using cement eggs as well, including most of the Demeter-certified U.S. biodynamic wineries.


  8. It’ll be interesting to see how long this lasts and what the next fad will be. Good thing that these guys are selling their wines for big bucks because their new toy fetish must be unreal expensive to maintain.


  9. [...] Vino – another reliable source with a cool name – wrote last October that Pax had won his name back. Although this would have a lovely symmetry to it, I haven’t seen it corroborated anywhere and [...]


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