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Rathfinny unveils English sparkling wine aged on the Arctic Ocean seabed

Rathfinny Wine Estate has teamed up with cruise operator Hurtigruten Norway to age 1,700 bottles of sparkling wine on the Arctic Ocean seabed.

The bottles spent six months maturing in the frigid waters at a depth of 34 metres, and they were salvaged intact.

Nikolai Haram Svorte, who recently won the Norwegian Sommelier Championship, was among the first to taste the wine at a special ceremony in Sandnessjøen.

‘This marks the beginning of something truly exhilarating, and I must say I am thoroughly impressed,’ he told the assembled reporters.

‘Despite spending just six months in the Arctic waters, the wine exhibits a remarkable vivacity and remains in impeccable condition, owing to a gently decelerated ageing process.’

The project was designed to celebrate Hurtigruten Norway’s 130th anniversary. The cruise operator was founded in 1893 to improve communications along Norway’s long, jagged coastline.

It wanted to do something special to commemorate its 130th birthday, so the team decided to join forces with Rathfinny to create ‘Havets Bobler’, which translates to ‘Bubbles of the Sea’.

‘When we first heard about the latest innovations in ageing wine, we couldn’t resist exploring an intriguing new underwater process,’ said Tani Gurra, director of beverages at Hurtigruten Norway.

‘Following our first conversations with Rathfinny in 2021, we fully believed these unique Arctic conditions could help create something special but ultimately it was all speculation – the last thing you want to do is spoil the wine.’

However, the wines have now been sampled by professionals, and the initial feedback has been encouraging.

‘It’s clear to me that this hugely intriguing experiment has revealed a unique setting to store and age sparkling wine,’ said Haram Svorte.

In the coming months, Hurtigruten Norway will serve ‘Havets Bobler’ during a series of dinners across its Coastal Express fleet.

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