Shipwrecked champagne good, but not ours: Veuve-Clicquot
A two-century-old bottle of champagne found in a shipwreck at the bottom of the Baltic tastes great but is not from the house of Veuve-Clicquot, as first thought, the company said Friday.
Last month Swedish divers working off Finland found 30 bottles perfectly preserved at a depth of 55 metres (180 feet), perhaps part of a consignment sent by France's King Louis XVI to the Russian Imperial Court.
Because the corks still retained a trace of an anchor logo, experts thought the champagne might have come from the historic Veuve-Clicquot estate, still one of the world's top brands of bubbly.
But, after inspecting and trying a sample of the perfectly preserved vintage, the firm said it was in fact from the now defunct Juglar house.
"For this wine, time has stood still," said Veuve-Clicquot's chief cellarman Dominique Demarville, one of a tiny number of people who has been allowed to taste a few millilitres of the find.
"It seems to me that it must taste the same as it did when it was made."
The bottles were found in only slightly salty water, with low currents, a constant temperature of five degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit), under pressure from the sea and in total darkness as if in a cellar.
"It has an intense golden yellow hue with grey-brown reflections. The taste starts strongly with sugars, but progressively acidity takes over and a fresh sensation invades the palate," Demarville said.
"As it lies in the mouth, impressive smoky sensations dominate, marked by the same peat and tobacco notes that you sense in the nose."
He estimated that the wine dated from the first third of the 19th century, which means it is not clear whether it is the oldest champagne ever drunk, as an 1825 Perrier-Jouet was tasted by experts in London last year.
The remaining bottles, which could number more than the 30 uncovered by the divers, will remain on the seabed for the time being. Their exact location is being kept secret.
Authorities on Aaland will decide who legally owns the contents of the wreck. The archipelago at the mouth of the Gulf of Bothnia belongs to Finland, though it enjoys autonomy from Helsinki and locals speak Swedish.
Life & Style blogs
Guest post by Richard Sexton, business development director of e.surv chartered surveyors
Plus lateral thinking and living on London's waterways
Other popular areas include Didsbury, Clifton in Bristol, central Cambridge and West Bridgford
Facial hair: Cat beards and the purrrsuit of excellence
Microsoft's Xbox One: Have the price (£399) and release date (30 November) been leaked by online retailer Zavvi?
James Pembroke: The man who's eaten everywhere
Xbox One vs PlayStation 4: Why Microsoft's console name game just doesn't add up
The 10 Best salt and pepper sets
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 3 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.