Under the Sea: Experience Sea-Aged Wine In France
By Rachel George
St. Malo is a small town in Brittany, France where residents and visitors can drink sea-aged wine straight from the harbor. The town’s medieval architecture and style illustrate the city’s history. St. Malo is also must-try for all seafood inspired meals, so close to the sea and its rising tides.
Local wine merchant Yannick Heude suggested the idea of sea-aged wine during a boat trip 15 years ago. He organized for the group to place wine bottles under the sea to celebrate the birth of one of the attendee’s children. The bottom of the sea floor hovers at 9-10 degrees C, comparable to the temperature of a wine cellar.
After realizing the effects of the wine’s flavor, Heude and his friends would meet once a year at Anse Saint-Pierre to retrieve the bottles from the previous year. According to Heude, lightly filtered wines are poised for the most remarkable transformations underwater. Who knew that it would later start an annual tradition to become a native experience, l’Immersion.
During the annual event, tourists, food and wine connoisseurs purchase tickets to experience and be a part of the sea-aging process. Watch Heude and his team load up a fishing boat with nearly 700 stacked wine bottles into pallet boxes. The boxes are lowered 15m to the sea ground level, after which boxes from last year are picked up for a lively reveal for watchers before the wine tasting.
Ticket holders also receive a trip to Cézembre, a WWII German naval battery, with a local coastguard for dinner. The celebration has a unique connection to the sea and Heude feels the same way. “At the end of the day, we can’t do without it,” he told the BBC. “Whether it’s in the arts or in food, it’s in everything: it’s there in wine tastings, in the shrimp, in the scallops, in the fish we catch, in the spring vegetables, in new potatoes. We’ve got it all here. We’ve truly got it all.”