Intrigued. That was what I felt when I was invited to a private “Wine of the Sea” tasting at the very cool Proprietor’s Reserve event space. All I knew before the tasting – from the information provided below that I will abbreviate here – is that the wines were aged for one to two years 100 feet deep in the Adriatic and they have only been recently approved for sale. I took a peek at the website before the event and the bottles are as pretty as promised – with bits of colorful coral attached to each and blue wax seals. We were to taste up to 20 wines (list is also below) and make our own conclusions.
Have you heard of – or tried – “Wine of the Sea” wines aged underwater for several months to years? I had heard about them but until last night, hadn’t tasted any. An amazing lineup, distributed by BZ Consortium, was available at the beautiful venue space Proprietor’s Reserve, and a buzz was created! Learn more about how these wines are made, and which highly-scored ones were my favorites, on Feb. 23 in Eve’s Wine 101. @PR.Vegas @BZConsortium (Link for photos is here.)
Once we were inside the venue, and did a quick tour around, we then started sampling wines. We tried two still whites and two sparklings, a nice start. (If you are interested in the sparkling wine we sampled that is “Untouched by Light” check the information here.) Of the whites we liked the light and fruity flavors of the 2017 Soave Superiore best. According to the website it’s made from Garganega grapes that are left to dry for two months after harvesting.
From there we moved onto the red wines. We started with the lighter reds and then moved over to the bigger ones. Of the light reds I enjoyed the 2017 Illasi Valpolicella, it seemed to have hit its sweet spot. Fresh and dried grapes were used in the fermentation according to the website.
There were two Barolos that my husband Eddie loved, both were young (compared to the 20 years we let them age) and yet very approachable. Our favorite was the 2017 Marchese D’Azeglio La Lomellina. Made me wonder if the gentle sea waves massaged it a bit? Very interesting. The tech sheet read, “our underwater cellar stepped in to speed up the aging”. I did ask the representative at the event, Domagoj Skuliber, if they tasted different aged in the sea compared to the same wines made at the winery and he invited us to the winery to find out. Now that would be an interesting tasting.
I also asked Skuliber about the thick sea-blue colored wax seal. He said that when the wine is inspected for any leakage, if there wasn’t any they re-seal with wax a second time.
My all-time favorite of the event, that I went back to the table to “re-visit” was the 2018 Amarone Della Valpolicella. Didn’t require any food for pairing. All dried grapes, Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara, made for one very approachable and tasty wine.
Later in the evening we spied another flier on the tables, it was a copy of a wine review page from The Tasting Panel magazine by wine critic Jonathan Cristaldi. Come to learn that he gave two of my favorites high scores: The Soave a 96 and the Amarone a 97.
And just in case you are wondering: No salt, salinity, or sea air did I detect in any of the wines.
ABOUT WINE OF THE SEA
Wine of the Sea from distributors BZ Consortium based out of Wisconsin. These wines are aged under the Adriatic Sea at about 100 feet and the temperature is consistent 55-60 degrees. These bottles, depending on the varietal, are submerged from one to two years. While they are submerged, the bottles become encrusted with beautiful coral while the underwater pressure sways the bottles gently and the whole process at the end intensifies the aging and cellaring process from 3-5 years and helps to form its final finish.
The concept of aging wine under the sea has been tried before over the years, and has been done in various parts of the world…. in the United States, the FDA recently approved BZ Consortium as the first and only company to be able to sell ocean-aged wines into the US. After much delay due to safety concerns in regard to broken seals and seawater contamination, they were finally given the green light at the end of 2022 that they can now sell Wine of the Sea in the US.
The bottles are equipped with a special composite cork and sealed with two layers of wax ensuring that the bottles allow nothing to enter them while submerged. While under water the bottles each experience:
- Temperatures are consistently cool throughout the whole duration of submersion
- Zero light from the sun is able to reach the bottles
- Aging is intensified and accelerated under tremendous pressure
- Waves keep the bottles in motion, forcing molecular breakdown for a constant flow and smoothing of the wine
The rotation of the varietals vary, but currently there are 13-16 different wines from around Europe. Wines of the Sea List
Wine Tasting List
Radgonske Gorice – Gold Flakes
Radgonske Gorice – Untouched By Light
Wine of the Sea – Custoza Superiore
Wine of the Sea – Soave Superiore
Wine of the Sea – Amarone
Wine of the Sea – Barolo Marchese
Wine of the Sea – Barolo San Giovanni
Wine of the Sea – Deux Mers
Wine of the Sea – Illasi Valpolicella Superiore
Wine of the Sea – Nebbiolo Langhe
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in the first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Proof Awards, Cellarmasters, LA Wine Competition, Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.