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Tuscan producer launches ocean-aged Petit Verdot in amphora

Winemaker Lorenzo Zonin of Podere San Cristoforo in Tuscany has launched what he claims is the world’s first ocean-aged Petit Verdot in amphora.

Lorenzo Zonin (right) of Podere San Cristoforo has launched an ocean-aged Petit Verdot in amphora

At the start of 2020 he sunk 600 hand-made, 75cl terracotta amphorae filled with Petit Verdot off the Tuscan coast, where they lay at the bottom of the sea for nine months.

“When they emerged from the water, the amphorae were wonderfully encrusted with small algae and shells almost forming a damask,” Zonin said.

“What surprised us is that the sea seems to have accelerated the evolution of the wine, which acquires complexity while maintaining its longevity.

The terracotta amphorae hold 75cl of wine

“The wine is perceived to be more rounded than its counterpart aged on dry land, and still retains all of its fruity notes of small red and dark berries, offering the spices and the balsamic nuances typical of Petit Verdot,” he added.

Inspired by the ageing vessels used by the Romans and Phoenicians, Zonin is hoping to obtain a worldwide patent for his S’Amfora ageing method, which he has been developing for the past four years.

“We wanted to connect the past with the present, thanks to the knowledge we have today about materials and the effects of pressure, light and air on wine.

“In the depths of the sea it is very dark, there is little oxygen and no vibration, rather a very slow movement, all of which are perfect for ageing wine,” he said.

Zonin believes ageing wines in the ocean in amphorae accelerates their development and imbues the wines with a mineral character and earthy notes.

Closed with cork and finished with a wax seal, S’Amfora Podere San Cristoforo Petit Verdot will go on sale at the beginning of December priced at €200.

The Petit Verdot inside is grown on gravel soils at the Podere San Cristoforo estate in Gavorrano in the Maremma. The wine is fermented with indigenous yeasts and briefly aged in French oak to refine its tannins before its nine month ocean rest.

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