A Sunken, Drunken Treasure

abissi_esclusiva_clipping_WEBIt is a known fact that a good, complex sparkling wine undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle under controlled conditions, such as a dark underground cellar. Not the case for this bubbly. Named for its origins, Bisson “Abissi” is actually aged in the deep-sea abyss, nearly 200 feet down, off the coastal town of Portofino, Italy.

Ligurian winemaker Pierluigi Lugano, who makes Italian spumante in the classic Champagne method, lacked adequate cellar space to age his wine. So, his creative solution was to submerge the bottles in noncorrosive steel cages into the cool Mediterranean for 13 months. Near-perfect temperatures, minimal light and the gentle rocking from the ocean current kept the lees (yeast particles) moving through the wine, while the constant counterpressure kept the bubbles bubbly.

The result is a typical Ligurian wine: lean, crisply acidic, mineral, almost salty and made from local varietals—vermentino and bianchetta—from vineyards conditioned by their proximity to the marine environment.

Its journey to Las Vegas has made the Bisson “Abissi” a terrestrial offering at Carnevino in the Palazzo (2012 vintage, $265) and B&B Ristorante in the Venetian (2011, $245). The bottle is dark and brooding, usually with visible traces of saltwater pressed between the bottle and the plastic sheath encasing it.

“If there were ever a more perfect wine made to accompany seafood, I certainly don’t know what it would be,” says Kirk Peterson, beverage director for B&B Hospitality Group Las Vegas. “Refreshing and clean with a laser-like focus, and taut, brackish minerality make it a perfect pairing for just about anything that swims.”


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