As a thousand mile-long atoll in the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean, it’s no wonder that most of the Maldives’ most coveted experiences relate to the sea: over water villas, underwater resorts…and now, tastings of wine aged in what has been voted the world’s best underwater wine cellar and restaurant.
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas has launched a new underwater-aged wine tasting experience. Taking place 20 feet below the Indian Ocean’s surface in the resort’s incredible SEA restaurant, surrounded by near 360-degree views of the local marine life, this exclusive and private tasting sees guests sample Dom Perignon champagne that has been aged submerged in open water for 365 days.
Situated in the Maldives’Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the resort’s underwater SEA restaurant takes diners beneath the waves to the very edge of Anantara Kihavah’s famed house reef, where the glass curved walls offer panoramic views of tropical marine life, including turtles, manta rays and clown fish.
In 2020, Anantara Kihavah’s wine experts started an experiment of submerging bottles of Dom Perignon 2008 vintage champagne below the ocean’s surface to age for a full year. After the sunken bottles were retrieved, the champagnes noticeably gained distinct flavour notes such as seaweed, minerals, and salinity in its taste, perfectly complementing the classic components of Dom Perignon’s citrus, brioche, and nutty characters.
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 way, the wine ageing process is faster, with the vintage absorbing the sea minerals and salinity while corals form beautiful, organic shapes on the bottles over their time submerged.
To understand the ageing process of the sunken wines, resort sommeliers periodically conduct comparative tastings between an underwater-aged wine and a cellar-aged wine to evaluate the distinct changes in flavours and components.
In addition to Dom Perignon champagnes, resort wine experts keep diversifying the varieties by including a selected number of classic wines into the list. Wine lovers may be interested to know that today there are 22 sunken champagne and wines ageing 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.
The wine cellar has over 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.
During the exclusive wine tasting at the resort, oenophiles will sample underwater-aged Dom Perignon and compare its characteristics with a cellar-aged Dom Perignon champagne. All champagnes are paired with canapés and a selection of premium cheeses.
It might be the most memorable experience you can have in one of the world's most luxe, romantic, remote and legendary tropical eco paradise destinations.
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Images courtesy of Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas
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