Sparkling Enjoyment from the Bunker

The Praeclarus Matures in a World War Two Bunker: From Force into Elegance

Here the brute force of a bunker, there the elegance of a sparkling wine: the San Paolo Winery has brought together two apparent opposites, and it has been doing so since 1979. In that year, the first bottles of sparkling wine were filled and stored to mature in a bunker from World War Two. The result of that experiment is Praeclarus, which today is one of the calling cards of the San Paolo Winery.

Two hundred winegrowing families belong to the cooperative. They tend 185 hectares (457 acres) of vineyards in a spectrum of elevations that ranges from 300 to 700 meters (900 to 2,300 feet). The Chardonnay grapes that make their way into Praeclarus grow above the village at an elevation of around 500 meters (1,600 feet).

“This is the place where the grapevines find their optimal conditions,” explains Philipp Zublasing, winemaker at the San Paolo Winery. “On one hand, deep chalky soils; on the other hand, prominent temperature differentials between day and night which contribute to the special aroma of Praeclarus.”

This sparkling wine is produced strictly according to the classic méthode champenoise, with the second fermentation taking place in the bottle. The maturation time on the fine yeast amounts to at least forty-eight months, which the Praeclarus spends in the bunker. The temperature there is at a constant 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit), which is therefore ideal for a maturing sparkling wine. And incidentally, visitors can be convinced twice over: with a visit to the winery along with an excursion into the sparkling wine bunker, and of course with a bubbly glass.
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