Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas has launched a new underwater-aged wine tasting experience.
Taking place six meters below the Indian Ocean’s surface in the resort’s SEA restaurant, this exclusive, private tasting lets guests sample Dom Perignon champagne that has been aged by submersion in open water for 365 days. Participants then compare the underwater-aged wine with a cellar-aged Dom Perignon champagne. All champagnes are paired with canapés and premium cheeses.
The SEA restaurant and wine cellar has been acknowledged as one of the best underwater venues in the world. The curved glass walls offer panoramic views of tropical marine life, including turtles, manta rays and clown fish. The wine cellar has more than 450 bottles from two dozen countries and SEA’s underwater position enables its wine cellar to maintain cooler temperatures allowing each label to age gracefully.
The private underwater-aged wine tastings cost $2,455++ USD for two people.
Creating an underwater-aged wine
This new experience is born of an innovative experiment conducted by Anantara Kihavah’s wine experts in 2020. Curious to see what would happen, they submerged bottles of Dom Perignon 2008 vintage champagne below the ocean’s surface and left it to “age” for 365 days. When the sunken bottles were retrieved, tasters found the champagne had gained distinct flavor notes such as seaweed, minerals, and salinity, which complemented Dom Perignon’s classic citrus, brioche and nutty notes.
Now, every year, a limited number of premium bottles are submerged underwater at Kihavah’s house reef without enclosures and away from direct sunlight. This hastens the ageing process, allowing the wine to absorb the sea minerals and salinity while corals form over the bottles.
To understand the ageing process of the sunken wines, Anantara Kihavah conducts periodic comparative tastings between an underwater-aged wine and a cellar-aged wine to determine the distinct changes in flavors and components.
The resort’s wine experts are now diversifying the range of wines being aged underwater. Today, there are 22 sunken champagnes and wines in the reef, including underwater-aged Dom Perignon Brut Millesime; Épernay, France 2012; Umbria IGT “Cervaro della Sala” Chardonnay; Castello Della Sala 2018; and Chassagne-Montrachet, Morgeot Les Fairendes VV, Francois Jouard 2014 975.