Many of us recognize that the special bond between a father and his daughter is an irreplaceable force that nothing in the universe can break. Whether he is proudly applauding at her ballet recital, cheering from the sidelines of her soccer game, or simply sticking her A+ writing assignment on the refrigerator with a magnet, a father’s love for his daughter runs very deep. During my most recent trip to Europe I met a father who took his deep love for his daughter to whole new level –at the bottom of the sea.
Driving through the lush and gentle hills of northern Slovenia, I arrived at the home of renowned winemaker Silvo Črnko to spend the morning with him and his daughter Tamara. We began swirling and sipping through the lineup of Črnko wines as I nibbled on homegrown tomatoes and cured meats while listening to Tamara talk about her adventures in scuba diving. Her being both a successful dive instructor and bright university student, Silvo’s pride and admiration for his daughter could be sensed in the air as much as the aromatics floating out of the wine glasses.
After tasting a handful of delicious wines and having some great laughs, Silvo suddenly brought over a bottle that looked like something out of a fairy tale shipwreck. Adorned by a gorgeous medley of marine organisms, he explained that Tamara’s immense passion for the underwater world inspired him to produce this special wine called Oceanus. A blend of Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay produced in the traditional method with zero dosage, it is a premium sparkling wine that is aged in a very unique way. With the stable temperature and current conditions in the nearby Bay of Piran, Silvo has these bottles submerged eighteen meters deep while the wine undergoes its second fermentation. Oceanus was one of the very first in the world to be aged under the sea.
A limited production selling at 200 Euros a pop, naturally I was more than happy to have a taste of this rare ocean bubbly. Aromas of apple peel, aniseed, and orange creamsicle swam upstream into my nose while its zesty acidity and distinct minerality allowed my palate to fully indulge in the dry nature of the wine. Brilliantly balanced with precision and grace, I couldn’t help but have an admiring smirk on my face as I looked across the table to see Silvo and Tamara delighted that I was enjoying my glass of Oceanus. Having grown up as a daddy’s girl myself, it was truly touching that the wine was just as wonderful as witnessing the heartwarming dynamic between the two of them.
Because the design on each bottle is a natural collage of oysters, sea worms, and other various creatures, no two bottles look the same. Instead, each is a beautiful and one-of-a-kind work of art. Just like the love between a daddy and his little girl.