Abissi, the fizz from the depths of the sea

11th June 2020

Abissi cover photo

The sea and its creatures offer astounding wonders that the human being can partially admire by remaining on its surface. But how many treasures can be revealed to us if diving in its depths?

Just a few metres under its surface, colourful seaweeds paint corals in multiple shapes whilst cheerful fish swim around its rocks all creating an enchanting atmosphere.

Going down metre after metre its shimmering reflections begin to fade, and darkness takes over.

But are we really sure that even without the sunlight there is nothing capable of sparkling by itself? A man-made treasure and rocked by the waves of the sea at a depth of 60 metres? Something fruit of the roots of the ground, aged in the sea to gain all its enchantment to come back in the mainland bringing us its unique flavours?

It is not a mermaid’s trick, it is real, and it is called: Abissi, the fizz from the depths of the sea, and it is my pleasure to reveal its charm to you.

This is a story where past meets present evoking that magic finding of ancient amphoras carried from the Roman ships and lost in the sea as a consequence of shipwrecks.

Those recipients settled in the depths, cradled by water and covered by marine sediments appear different as enriched by the sea that marks its presence on them. An enchantment to inspire the generations to come, particularly a person with a great love for sea and vineyards.

Piero Lugano, ex teacher of history and art with a great passion for wine since his childhood, combined all of them in producing a sparkling wine unique in all its features: grapes, location, ageing method and bottle look. He really wanted to create a fizz like never before and so he began experimenting and quickly realized that he needed an underground cellar in semi-darkness with a constant temperature. And it was right here that he had an inspiration. What about an underwater cellar? Thinking of the wrecks of Roman ships, in which amphoras containing wine were often found unspoiled, he proved to himself that a marine environment would be perfect for preservation: an ideal place to dream up the first fizz from the depths of the sea.

But like every story in which Nature is challenged, he had to face many obstacles to come through with flying colours, but he wasn’t afraid of having a hard row to hoe.

In fact, as History teaches us, often the solution is right in front of us: The “Baia del Silenzio” in Sestri Levante in the province of Genova, a cosy and peaceful bay turned out to be the natural cradle to welcome and embrace his wines.

It was in 2008 when he summoned an operating team to organize diving operations, and site inspections needed to be skilfully performed in order to assess all the risks, with the aid of sophisticated equipment and the collaboration of the Drafinsub of Genova. Luckily everything seemed to be going alright.

It was time to take action. No sooner said than done, the first stainless steel cage of 500 bottles reached the seabed at a depth of 60 metres letting the sea now play its part.

In silence with little light, no oxygen and a constant temperature of 15° and a pressure of 7 bars from the sea toward the bottles, his wines aged for 18 months with a natural remuage due to gentle currents at that depth. Throughout all those months it looked like the powerful strength of the sea could be quieter to cradle wines and take care of them as being part of it. Even fish curious to see that mysterious cage seemed to have respect for it by wandering around it without annoying as guardians of a treasure to preserve.

Finally, on the 30th June 2010, Piero Lugano could uncork the first bottle resurfaced and each person who joined that experience could see the result of all efforts put in whilst enjoying a brand-new sparkling wine fruit of the magic spirits of the deep.

Furthermore, the formation of marine deposits on the bottles, thanks to the natural action of the sea, have created effects which would render each bottle totally unique and different from any other.

For those of you who love sea and wine as much as I do, I feel honoured to introduce you to Abissi, a surprising fizz produced from the Bisson winery in Sestri Levante in the lovely Liguria Region.

Abissi Bisson sparkling wine Pas Dosé, Portofino DOC 2016

Bianchetta Genovese, Vermentino, Cimixià grapes.

The vineyards are located in Sestri Levante, Trigoso and Casarza Ligure.

Brilliant golden colour with vigorous perlage.

Rich and complex, it exudes distinctive saline notes with musky hues.

In the mouth, it is ample, full bodied yet crisp offering mineral flavours marvellously combined with aromatic herbs accents.

What is extra special about this wine…

You will be captured by its dazzling light shining right in front of you.

Its perlage will let you feel the sound of those water drops that have been caressing Abissi bottles for months.

Neptune and its creatures have certainly kept watch over it to give us the key to enter his world: you’ll be transported back to the past into an underwater blue world where you are about to see incredible surprises and be prepared for the unexpected cause you never know what’s around every corner.

It is up to you to take the plunge and enjoy all the wonders Abissi fizz has to offer.

Like any story worth this name there is always a happy ending: from the amphoras of the past lost in the depths of the sea many centuries ago to nowadays with Abissi sparkling wine, we may consider that nothing has completely changed: perhaps the protagonists of this adventure, from Romans to Piero Lugano, maybe the grapes used, but one protagonist still remains the same: the sea and its enchantment.

A special thanks to Piero Lugano for having given us this remarkable sparkling wine fruit of his commitment letting us feel like part of a dream come true.

Stefania Ruffo

Stefania Ruffo

Wine Educator at Università del Gusto, Wine Writer at Glass of Bubbly. Owner and Founder at Enjoyourwine. Find me on Twitter - @enjoyourwine