Gourmet Fare

A Gourmet Gazette Fine Wine Find: Lake Aged Wine

Pascal Perceval of the Perceval wine estate. Photo courtesy Domaine Perceval. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

The snow-covered Alps and their glorious icy lakes don’t seem to be the perfect setting for aging fine wines, but that all changed when winemaker Pascal Perceval decided to give a new and different dimension to his wines of the Savoy region of France. He submerged them in alpine lakes to age them, with the first immersion taking place in Lake Geneva in 2017, followed by Annecy, the Bourget and now in the stunning setting of the Lac de Tignes, also known as a great ski resort. His Wines of the Depths join the estate’s other wines, very other worldly unusual and fragrant wines.

A cask of wine from the Perceval wine estate in the French Alps descends towards the lake where it will age beneath its icy waters. Photo courtesy Domaine Perceval. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

« Wine kept underwater, in total darkness and in perfect conditions of humidity, benefits from an exceptional level of conservation and gains between three and five years of aging time. Because of the natural and regular swirling of water in the lake, its evolution is amplified, » explains the wine maker. 

A gift box of the Perceval wine estate’s Wines of the Depths. Photo courtesy Domaine Perceval. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

The wines slated to be brought out of the lake on March 1st are a case of some 1,000 bottles of Roussanne IGP (the French acronym for the Protected Designation of Origin Label) and a 500-liter cask of Bergeron which have been aging and icing away for two years in the Lac de Tignes. The lake-aged wines of the Perceval estate are naturally highly concentrated as the effect of the extreme cold causes the initial grape must to lose between 50% to 70% of its water. The Domaine Perceval wine estate is an exceptional family-owned estate that was created in 1910 with 133 acres (54 hectares) of vineyards in the French Alps. The various growing parcels of the estate are planted on hillsides that are sheltered and sunny and enjoy the proximity of the region’s lakes, part of the terroir or good earth that contributes to their unique flavors and savors. The average age of Pascal Perceval’s vineyards is 30 years, but some parcels are over 80-years-old. The white wines produced in this region of France are crisp and fresh, even refreshing. The Bergeron grape variety, the local name for the Roussanne, is a powerful white grape variety but it is just one of the wonderful grape varieties of the region awaiting discovery. You can find all of the Perceval estate wines at: 


©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette

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