Each year, 500 bottles of Thalassitis are submerged in the Aegean sea, and the 2018 vintage has just come up for air.

The story of Thalassitis began in 2009, when co-founders Yiannis Paraskevopoulos first submerged that year’s vintage off the east coast of Santorini. The underwater cellar maintains a stable temperature and without the negative effects of light and oxygen.

Lia Tevekelidou, Gaia Wines exports and marketing manager, explained the origins of the idea.

“Thalassitis means ‘the one that comes from the sea.’ Therefore we thought it would be a great idea to experiment and see how this specific wine would age under the sea, like its name denotes,” Tevekelidou said.

Only three bottles from the 2009 vintage remained intact, unable to survive the pressure of the 30m depth. This improved in later years, when 258 bottles survived from 2010, and 141 bottles from 2011. Unfortunately, very few bottles survived from the 2012 and 2013 vintages, and the decision was made to move the underwater cellar to a higher depth of 20 metres. This new cellar now holds up to four consecutive vintages of Thalassitis Submerged.

The content of the bottles come from ungrafted Assyrtiko vines from Episkopi, Pyrgos, and Akrotiri, all about 80 years old. The Assyrtiko varietal is well-suited to ageing, which Gaia Wines ferments in stainless steel tanks rather than oak barrels.

“Assyrtiko as a variety has quite high acidity, therefore it is a grape variety that has potential for ageing, due to the fact that it has the capacity to maintain the high acidity at ripeness,” Tevekelidou explained.

The final wine has a smokey aroma with a note of hydrocarbon, with a softened mouth. The lack of oxidisation and the colour are indicative of a much younger wine, resulting in a hybrid wine that blends youth and maturity.

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