Three months ago, Mira Winery in Napa embarked on a grand experiment: It lowered 48 bottles of its 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon into the ocean outside Charleston, S.C. in a custom-built cage to see what aging in the sea would do to the wine's flavor. On Tuesday, the bottles were retrieved and tasted. The differences between the wine aged in the ocean and the wine aged in the regular process are "incredible," according to Gutavo Gonzalez, Mira winemaker.
Both were fruit-forward and jammy, as would be expected from a new wine, but the vino in the ocean-aged bottles had loosened up and relaxed much more than he expected after just three months. Possible causes floated by Gonzales and Patrick Emerson, an advanced sommelier who also tasted the wine, include the ocean's relatively stable temperature, lack of light, and the rocking motion of the waves.
"I'm perplexed and amazed at how quickly these wines have sort of taken two different paths. Both are delightful to drink. I can tell they're the same wine, but it's almost like there has been some magic happened in the aquaoir," Emerson said in a press conference yesterday.
Mira plans to sell twelve bottles of the wine to Wine Club Members beginning June 1 on a first-come, first-serve basis. But there will be more: In the fall, the winery plans to continue the experiment by placing eight cases of wine in the water for six months.