02 Aug 2010

Divers Recover 18th Century Champagne From Baltic

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NY Wine Examiner:

A cache of Champagne, which may date back as far as 1772, was found shipwrecked almost 200 feet deep in the Baltic [in late July]. There are musings that the Champagne may be part of a consignment that Louis XIV sent to the tsar of Russia just before the French revolution.

If this is true, these 30 or so bottles could be worth millions. Finnish officials have yet to decide who actually owns the wine.

Authorities believe that the Champagne is from the House of Clicquot, which began producing wine in 1772. (The name Veuve or Widow was not added until the 1800s.)

A sample has been sent to Moët & Chandon for verification. Moët Hennessey is the parent company of both Champagne brands.

Swedish diving instructor, Chrisian Ekstrom, found the treasure, and promptly opened a bottle to try with his crewmates. He described that taste as “fantastic… it had a very sweet taste, you could taste oak and it had a very strong tobacco smell. And there were very small bubbles.” It seems that conditions less than one league under the sea are ideal for storing and aging wine.

This Champagne is thought to be about 50 years older than the current oldest-known Champagne. There are two bottles left of the 1825 vintage in the cellars of Perrier-Jouët.


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