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Mar 20, 2018
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Drink This Weekend Edition: Wine made underwater comes to light

March 22nd 02:03pm, 2013

Attention supporters of funky experiments and cool-looking bottles: An Italian wine just arrived in St. Louis that will pique your curiosity both for the uncanny process in which it was aged and the eye-catching results.

Abissi Bisson is an Italian sparkling wine and the brainchild of Piero Lugano, a wine merchant from Chiavari in the Italian Riviera. Lugano, who has since founded his own winery, had wanted to make a sparkling wine but lacked the space for aging it. His bright idea: Send it to the bottom of the sea.

“The temperature is perfect, there’s no light, the water prevents even the slightest bit of air from getting in, and the constant counterpressure keeps the bubbles bubbly. Moreover, the underwater current acts like a crib, gently rocking the bottles and keeping the lees moving through the wine,” Lugano told a reporter for the New York Times back in 2011 after the second edition of Abissi (which means “depths” in Italian) had been pulled from the seabed of a national marine preserve, located off the coast of Portofino. The wine had spent 13 months resting in stainless-steel cages in the company of sea life.

While this wine has received thumbs up for its crisp acidity and mineral character (typical characteristics of Ligurian wines), in the case of Abissi, life at sea literally leaves a mark. Seashells, algae and barnacles cover the bottles, making each bottle a unique souvenir.

The 2010 vintage of this sunken treasure just became available in St. Louis. The Wine & Cheese Place (Clayton location) snagged 36 bottles, but only half remain. Plunk down $87, and one of these gems can be yours.

— photo courtesy of Abissi Bisson

By Ligaya Figueras

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