On the wine label it is written: Ieris Oinos, bottled in 2017. Its place is “Xiropotamos” in Ierissos, Halkidiki, the region which “sees” on one side the Gulf of Akanthi and the another Mount Athos and the Gulf of Mount Athos.
“Orders have arrived for this wine lately, even from the French,” Angelos Zamanis, director of the Agrovision cellar, which produces it, told APE-MPE.
At first glance, the orders of French tasters beg the question when they ask to buy a Greek wine produced from the most famous French grape varieties, Cabernet Sayvigion and Merlot, when they even know that the bottle (s) of their order will arrive at their home. table after in June 2022.
The reason for this sudden desire of the French somelier, however, is not to try how they produce two French grape varieties on Greek soil but (mainly) “to taste a special wine which has the particularity of remaining at the bottom of the sea for 12 month, at the gates of Mount Athos, in the maritime area between Ouranoupolis and Amouliani “.
Hundreds of bottles of “Ieris” wine (its name comes from the first five letters of Ierissos), as well as a small number of bottles of “Amouliani” rosé, from the same cellar, have been submerged in recent months in three different parts. from the sea, between Ouranoupolis-Amouliani- borders of Mount Athos, being the first underwater cave of Halkidiki and the North Aegean.
“This is the first time such a thing has been attempted,” explains Zamanis, explaining that the underwater cave is on three levels and concerns the depth of the water. The first, with a relatively small number of bottles, is located on a reef between Amouliani and Ouranoupolis, at a depth of 4 meters. On this reef, bottles of wine are visible to all tourists who choose to visit the beaches of Ouranoupoli and Amouliani with the special glass bottom boat (glass bottom). At the second (and most visited) point other bottles were poured into an iron cage, about 100 meters from the shore of Tripiti and at a depth of 9 meters. In this, a few days ago, two divers … pulled bottles from the bottom to present the contents of the wine cellar to journalists who participated in the familiarization trip for Halkidiki gastronomy organized by the Halkidiki Chamber as part of the 1st Taste Halkidiki.
This point is a delight for amateur divers because the underwater cave is located near the remains of the ancient sunken Amouliani and offers an excellent diving experience. For the supervision of the point, the cellar cooperates with the Ouranoupolis Diving Center but also with other organizations in the region which participate in diving tourism activities.
The largest number of bottles is located at a depth of about 20 meters to the seaport of Mount Athos and is not precisely identified by those responsible for the cellar for obvious reasons. The proximity of production to the area of Mount Athos and the safeguarding of Ieris at sea, are considered to be the main reasons which prompted the French to order it. The rest can be related to storage temperature and aging conditions.
“We know the aging conditions of wine in the cellar. Even a little oxygen passes through a wine and it has an effect. In the underwater cellar we will see in the water and in the mild conditions of lack of oxygen how much the way of aging wine changes ”specifies Mr. Zamanis.
The. Sea’s answers will come in 9 months anyway. In June 2022, the 12 months will have passed since the day when the Ieris “lay down” on the seabed of Halkidiki and will be recovered to travel within the country, in France and everywhere else requested. Now, however, winemakers are optimistic that sea wine tastings will lead lovers of special wines to new taste avenues.