In the age of advancement, astonishment has become the new version of reality to the everyday, with change being the only constant to the living world. The latest unveiling of 1,700 bottles of sparkling wine from the depths of the sea in northern Norway is a fine example of the newness and unthinkable of the postmodern era. Ever in the history of spirit Industry nothing was ever imagined to age under water, questioning and challenging this idea the Norwegian boating company Hurtigruten with its British partners Rathfinny Wine Estate launched a project called ‘Havets Bobler’ or Bubbles from the Sea. Out of curiosity and in the desire to experiment they lowered their 2018 Classic Cuveé the ocean floor to produce a unique, mature and a distinct quality wine.
Hurtigruten, which is best known as the Norwegian Coastal Express because of its exclusive travel routes from the coast of the country delivering cargos and transporting people, celebrates their 130th anniversary this year. To mark this milestone they pulled out these submerged bottles stored at a feet of 111, at a temperature of 41°F for over six months to create a signature Norwegian cocktail onboard using all Norwegian authentic, fresh and hyper-local ingredients, while adding other official features to their century old company.
This wine ageing idea was however is the brainchild of Tani Gurra, the Director of Beverages at Hurtigruten Norway, who was particularly intrigued by recent news of spirit bottle found in the 170 years old shipwrecks at the bottom of the ocean near Finland and was insistent on caring the unfeather process with strict scientific protocols in the assumption that lack of light, increased pressure, and constant low temperatures at the Arctic Circle would make an exceptional wine cellar.
It actually did, on May 12th this year near the Bucolic coastal village of Sandnessjøen, all the wine experts boarded a cruise ship as the bottles were retrieved from the ocean bed. Nikolai Haram Svorte, the 2023 Norwegian sommelier winner was one among the first to taste it, following this celebratory sabring of the fist bottle before the curious crowd of onlookers.
“This is the start of something truly exciting, and I’m really impressed! After only six months submerged in Arctic waters this method has ensured the wine remains noticeably vibrant and in great condition by delicately slowing the maturation. I’d expect to taste a rounder mouthfeel and softer bubbles, but to my surprise, the wine has retained more freshness than I anticipated! From the refreshing citrus tones to a mineral salty finish, like an oyster, it’s clear to me that this hugely intriguing experiment has revealed a unique setting to store and age sparkling wine. As Hurtigruten looks to submerge more bottles, and for much longer periods of time, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Havets Bobler. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this project and I’m excited to hear what Hurtigruten guests think too!”Nikolai Haram
However, the only reason of success of such an innovative idea was the Hurtigrutens collaboration with a Norwegian vineyard but Norway being not a wine producing country the partnership with Rathfinny Wine Estate was remarkable success because without them this experimental milestone was impossible to achieve.
“Our team were beyond excited to taste these exclusive wines after many months ageing on the seabed of northern Norway. We are absolutely delighted that Rathfinny’s Sussex sparkling wines will be poured on Hurtigruten ships, especially when they are sailing arguably the most beautiful coastline in the world.”Mark Driver, Co-Owner of the Rathfinny Wine Estate said on this,
Among all of this what stands to be the most crucial of all is the aquatic location, as this new cellar isn’t set up on land rather underwater, and any disappointing optimal drop has the capacity to disintegrate the entire project. This ontological standpoint let Tani Gurra ask for assistance from Cristian M. Saether of Cimōrae Caviar, an expert experimenting on lumpfish roe in the ocean. He was the one to scout the area that has low trafficked for it to keep safe and secret for the pirates to come to plunder the bubbles.
“After over a year of planning, and six months of ageing, we were still unsure of the end result, and was so worried about the wax-sealed bottles that I packed and repeatedly checked until the final drop was done. The most difficult was to waiting period and let fate run its course with no oversight for half a year. Well everything came out more than perfect and we are very proud of this world-fist moment.”Gurra himself stated
After 18 months of dedication the Gurra’s excitement the globe saw a ravishing product that completely change the savour industry. In following months, Hurtigruten Norway will serve ‘Havets Bobler’ during a series of dinners across its Coastal Express fleet, making its official entry in the market.