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Oldest Champagne found in Shipwreck

18th Century Champagne Found by Divers Near Sweden

August 9, 2010

A glass of Champagne
Divers have found what may be the world’s oldest drinkable Champagne in a shipwreck at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. About 30 bottles are said to be aboard the sunken ship, and the Champagne is estimated to be from the late 18th century. The recent discovery was made near the Aland Islands, between Sweden and Finland, but the nationality of the sunken ship has not yet been determined.

A member of the diving crew, Christian Ekstrom, said the bottles likely were part of a cargo destined for Russia. The divers brought up one bottle to establish how old the wreck was, thinking it was wine, and were reportedly overjoyed when they popped the cork and discovered that it was Champagne. Naturally, they took a sip. Ekstrom described it as very sweet with flavors of tobacco and oak, and that it tasted fantastic. Samples of the bubbly have been sent to laboratories in France for testing, and Ekstrom said that they are 98 percent certain that the Champagne is Veuve Clicquot and was made between 1772 and 1785.

Swedish wine expert Carl-Jan Granqvist estimates that each bottle could demand around $68,000 if the corks are intact and the Champagne is genuine and drinkable. Until the newly discovered Champagne’s origin is confirmed, French Champagne house Perrier-Jouet claims the title of oldest Champagne in existence with their 1825 vintage.

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