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Winery: Despite chemical similarities, ocean-aged wine tastes different

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- While lab tests comparing wine aged underwater to wine aged in the traditional way showed a similar chemical makeup, tasters told Mira Winery their 'Aquaoir' wine had a distinct taste and aroma.

For the last 18 months, Mira Winery has been experimenting with aging wine underwater, using the Charleston Harbor as their temporary wine cellar.

For their second phase, eight cases of 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon were aged for six months 60 feet under water. Those cases were pulled up May 6 and went through chemical and blind taste tests.

“Like any good experiment, when we started we didn’t know exactly what we were looking for, we just hoped to learn more about the process of aging wine,” said Mira President Jim “Bear” Dyke, Jr.  “One thing we learned with certainty is that in a relatively short period of time, the same wine exposed to a combination of elements took a divergent aging path.”

Mira officials said their taste test participants, including Charleston sommeliers Patrick Emerson and Garth Herr, claimed the 'Aquaoir' wines had a different taste and aroma than identical bottles of Mira wine aged on land.

“We still have not determined the dominant underwater factor(s) that are impacting the wine but we know there is something there,” said Mira Winemaker Gustavo Gonzalez. “If you can apply what we are learning to aging wine on land, it has the potential to revolutionize how an entire industry thinks about aging.”

If you would like an opportunity to taste 'Aquaoir' for yourself, Mira will be holding a tasting at The Sanctuary Resort in Kiawah this fall. Details on the event will be posted on their website.

Anyone wishing to try their own underwater aging process can do so as well, but they must sign up by August 1. Click here for more information.

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