When we decided to have our own wine cellar 9 years ago, we found out the difficulties of having to build an underground wine-cellar in our facilities. So we thought: "... what if we sink the bottles under the sea?”. The conditions should be similar: low temperature, stable pressure, low light... So that’s how we built the first cages and we began to plunge the wines to mature them under the sea, the largest and most beautiful cellar in the world. Why not?
Nine years after this crazy idea, and with the experience of maturing tens of wines of diverse origins and varieties under the sea, our project has gone further. This year we have the pleasure of plunging the first harvest of the wine that we produce ourselves in the tiniest vineyard of Catalonia, Vinya Jóncols, at 138m to the beachfront. If you come to the hotel you will be able to see it just behind the building. Vinya Jóncols is a white wine done with biodynamic criteria, with 95 % of Red Grenache and 5 % of Roman Muscatel. We make only 1800 bottles, 200 of those bottles will age under the sea. In another post we will tell you more details about this wine. Now, let’s focus in the subaquatic wine cellar.
Environmental conditions of the subaquatic wine cellar:
- 17 meters deep
- 2,7 pressure atmospheres
- 11 to 16 celsius degrees
How does it affect the aging under the sea to the aromas and flavours of the wines?
Darkness, silence and the vibrations of the marine currents. Will our Vinya Jóncols like these conditions more than those of a "normal" wine cellar? These environmental conditions, are they stable? How much stable? Does it really affect the wine? Does it change the flavour? Does it alter the aromas? Does the wine absorb any marine aromas?
Some sommeliers have made comparative tastings, and they say that, at a sensitive level, they perceive changes. But till now it has not been scientifically proved. There’s no study on this topic in any scientific area. None. So this year we are going to prove it. We want to be the first ones in testing how does the submarine aging affects to the wines.
In November we will emerge the bottles that we plunge today and will see how the wine has evolved. There are so many people on the lookout. We have impelled this study from the Hotel Cala Jóncols thanks to the implication of a wide set of professional experts in several jobs:
- The Dr. Patricia Jové who coordinates the scientific study in the Catalan Institute of the Cork.
- The potter Josep Mestres who has crafted the clay amphorae one by one, with the aim to create an inner tube between the glass and the sea that propitiates the thermal stability and protects the bottle from the light.
- The fishermen and the team of scuba divers of the Fishermen's Brotherhood of Roses, who watch the cages and extract the samples for Dr. Jové.
- Parramon-Exportap, which has made the cork stoppers specially for this project.
- Josep Lluís Vilarasau, teacher of the specialization of Sommelier in the University of Girona who will drive the comparative tastings.
In the frame of this pioneering study, there will be taken samples weekly, more than 20 parameters will be monitored and analysed (light, oxygenation, permeability of the cork, temperature, salinity, etc, etc, etc) six months along, and finally, together with the comparative tastings we will have a few confirmed conclusions that will state the real effects that the underwater aging provokes on the wines. It is the first time in the wine world and in the scientific ambience a study like that is carried out, at least in this country.
To all the professionals, institutions and organisations implied in this project: thank you!
And now, let’s keep calm and patient.
We will keep on reporting.