Divers find oldest champagne in Baltic wreck

Terhi Kinnunen,Reuters
Saturday 17 July 2010 12:13
Comments

A group of divers exploring a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea have found bottles containing what is thought to be the oldest drinkable champagne in the world, made in the late 18th century. "I picked up one champagne bottle just so we could find the age of the wreck, because we didn't find any name or any details that would have told us the name of the ship," diver Christian Ekstrom from Aland told Reuters today.

Ekstrom and his Swedish diving colleagues opened the bottle and tasted the contents.

"It was 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," he said.

Experts said the shape of the bottle showed it was from the late 18th century, and the bottle and its contents have been sent to champagne specialists in France to be analysed.

"We are 98 per cent sure that it is Veuve Clicquot champagne and that it was probably (made) between 1772 (the year the business was established) and 1785," Ekstrom said, adding that the cargo vessel was probably sailing to St Petersburg, then the capital of Russia.

He said they had found the wine on their first dive and did not yet know how many bottles the wreck contained or what other cargo it carried.

The current title of the world's oldest champagne is held by Perrier-Jouet, which has two bottles from 1825.

Richard Juhlin, a Swedish champagne specialist, told the newspaper Alandstidningen he believed the champagne was Veuve Cliquot and said that if it was from the late 18th century, it could cost around 500,000 Swedish crowns ($68,000) a bottle.

Because the wreck lies off Aland, an autonomous part of Finland, the local authorities will decide what will be done with the wreck - and the champagne.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in