The sea is an ideal setting for aging wines. We have found shipwrecks with bottles in optimum condition after many years underwater. It is apparent that the Sea offers exceptional conditions for wine, from relatively constant temperature, pressure and low light density to the salinity and the stillness of the deep-sea.
In recent years, some wineries have begun to take their “crops” to the sea, where they have a slower development and thus produce wines that are fresher and more aromatic. These wines boast exquisite mineral nuances not found on many vintages. Moreover, this wine aging practice does not interfere with the natural environment and is respectful of the marine flora and fauna.
The wines we present here, developed in Spain and Italy, rest for months—or years—in the silence and darkness of the ocean to ensure excellent quality.
GRAPES: 100% tintilla // WINERY: Bodegas Luis Pérez, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
In Jerez de la Frontera, Andalusia, Spain, Bodegas Luis Pérez produces an exciting range of wines including one that stands out for its innovative approach. Garum Submarine is a wine produced with native tintilla grapes, which at one point were near extinction. After fermentation, the wine is aged for 16 months in French oak barrels and then packed into jars for an additional submarine rest in the Atlantic Ocean. They stay under water for about 12 months at a depth of 12 meters (40 feet) at a constant temperature of 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit). The exterior of the amphora—which is completely sealed— collects all the usual seafloor sediments. Garum Submarino is characterized by its intense color and strong aroma, with hints of currants, blackberries, black pepper, nutmeg, and chocolate. Its sweetness makes it silky, but at the same time it is powerful, intense and with a refreshing finish due to the acidity of the tintilla grapes. It sells for $200 a bottle.
GRAPES: bianchetta genovese, vermentino, pigato // WINERY: Enoteca Bisson, Chiaviri, Italy
Bisson is an Italian winery located in Chiavari, a small village in the province of Genoa. Led by Pierluigi Lugano and his daughter Marta, a decade ago the label began to submerge one of their most celebrated wines—the Abissi Spumante—into the Ligurian Sea. Around 6,500 bottles of this Italian sparkling wine rest for 13 months underwater. Combining the Lugano family passion for wine and their love of the sea, their prized Abissi Spumante rests in steel cells at a depth of 60 meters (190 feet) at a constant temperature of 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit). The result is a vibrant wine of a pale yellow color, elegant and persistent, with an intense perfume, slightly salty and with some mineral notes. Priced at $85 a bottle, the Abissi Spumante is excellent as an aperitif or to accompany a tasty fish dish. ■