Many already know that wine and whisky bottles rescued from a shipwreck are sold for considerable amounts of money. On Friday, June 8, 11 bottles rescued from a shipwreck 200 years ago in the Baltic Sea (6 bottles of Juglar, 4 Veuve Clicquot and 1 of Piper Heidsieck), were auctioned for 90,000 Pounds.
The reason, beyond the criteria applicable to the antiques, is much more interesting for any wine lover: ageing in underwater conditions provides features unique and difficult to replicate in the traditional wine cellars, to the point that the opening of the first winery 150 Km from the coast and at a depth of 1,000 metres, on the Atlantic coast of Bordeaux-Cadillac (France) has been announced for June 2013.
It is not the first experience of this kind. Some might know other similar projects, which have been conducted in several countries, at least since 2000, like the Submarine Beverage Aging Laboratory (LSEB Laboratorio Submarino de Envejecimiento de Bebidas) in the Basque Country (Spain), wich involves several of the best wineries and Spanish Appellations of Origin.
The lattest test was conducted by a team of three Frenchmen: oyster grower Joel Dupuch, cooper Pierre-Guillaume Chiberry and winemaker Bruno Lemoine from Winery Château Haut-Brion. The wine used was “an exceptional vintage of 2009 very rich in tannins”, the aging took place during 6 months in the line of the low tide in 56-litre, French oak barrels, after which the wine was bottled, tasted and analyzed in the laboratory.
“When we tasted it it was much better than it should have been. At once mellower and more complex than its on-land relative” said expert taster Bernard Burtschy. The laboratory analysis also confirmed the tasting notes. On the one hand the wine lost something alcoholic gradation but raised its sodium content.
If we think that the conditions sought by any winemaker when ageing a wine are: the absence of light, constant temperature and constant humidity, the conditions underwater meet these three requirements to perfection.