Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Τhe secret grief of the French sommelier

On the label is written: Ieris Oinos, bottling 2017. The area is "Xiropotamos" of Ierissos Halkidiki. This place "sees" on one side the Gulf of Akanthi and on the other Mount Athos and the Gulf of Mount Athos, in Halkidiki - Greece.


"The orders have been arriving for this wine even from Frence," Angelos Zamanis, the manager of the Agrovision winery, which produces it.

At first glance, the orders of the French tasters raise the question as they ask to buy a Greek wine produced from the most famous French varieties - Cabernet Sayvigion and Merlot, when they even know that the bottle of their order will arrive at their table after in June 2022.

The reason for this ... sudden desire of the French somelier is not to try how they yield two French wine varieties in Greek soils but (mainly) "to taste a special wine that has the peculiarity of staying at the bottom for 12 months of the sea, at the gates of Mount Athos, in the sea area between Ouranoupolis and Amouliani ".


Hundreds of bottles of "Ieris" wine (its name comes from the first five letters of Ierissos), along with a small number of bottles of rosé "Amouliani", of the same winery, have been immersed in recent months in three different parts of the sea area. between Ouranoupolis- Amouliani- borders of Mount Athos, being the first submarine cellar of Halkidiki and the North Aegean.

"This is the first time that such a thing is attempted," says Mr. Zamanis, explaining that the underwater cellar is on three levels and concerns the depth of the waters. The first, with a relatively small number of bottles, is located on a reef between Amouliani and Ouranoupolis, at a depth of 4 meters. On this reef, bottles of wine are visible to all tourists who choose to tour the beaches of Ouranoupoli and Amouliani with the special boat that has a glass bottom (glass bottom). 


At the second point (and the most visited) more bottles have been sunk in an iron cage, about 100 meters from the shore of Tripiti and at a depth of 9 meters. In this, a few days ago, two divers ... pulled some bottles from the bottom to present the contents of the wine cellar to the journalists who participated in the fam trip for Halkidiki gastronomy organized by the Halkidiki Chamber within the 1st Taste Halkidiki.

This point is the joy of amateur divers as the underwater cellar is located near the remains of the sunken ancient Amouliani and offers an excellent diving experience. For the supervision of the point, the winery cooperates with the Diving Center of Ouranoupolis but also with other bodies in the area that participate in diving tourism activities.

The largest number of bottles is located at a depth of about 20 meters to the sea gate of Mount Athos and is not accurately identified by the winery managers for obvious reasons. The proximity of the production to the area of ​​Mount Athos and the safekeeping of Ieris at sea, are considered to be the main reasons that enticed the French to order it. The rest may be related to storage temperature and aging conditions.

"We know the aging conditions of the wine in the cellar. Even a little bit of oxygen passes into a wine and it has an effect. In the submarine cellar we will see in the water and in the mild conditions of lack of oxygen how much the way of aging the wine changes "points out Mr. Zamanis.

The "answers" from the sea will come in 9 months anyway. In June 2022, the 12 months will have passed since the day the Ieris "lay down" on the seabed of Halkidiki and will be retrieved to travel within the country, in France and wherever else requested. From now on, however, winemakers are optimistic that the tastings of sea wines will lead the lovers of special wines, to new paths of taste



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