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News,Wine,You've Got to Be Kidding Me

Man finds 230 year-old bottle of Champagne at sea and drinks it

Image borrowed from The Independent.

This past weekend, while divers were exploring a shipwreck in the in Baltic Sea, they discovered what may possibly be the oldest bottles of drinkable Champagne. It’s reported they found 30 bottles of champagne. These bottles are thought to pre-date the French Revolution, and were  perfectly preserved at a depth of 180 feet.

Diving instructor Christian Ekstrom found the Champagne, which is believed to be from the 1780s. He retrieved one bottle from a depth of 200 feet, and opened it on his way back to shore, saying it was still bubbly and sweet.

According to OhLaLaMag.com

The bottle – whose shape indicates it was produced in the 18th Century – has now been sent to France for analysis. If confirmed, it would be the oldest drinkable champagne in the world. The wine found on the seabed was perfectly preserved because of the conditions of dark and cold on the seabed and they are 98 percent certain it is Veuve Clicquot.

It’s thought to possibly be part of a consignment sent by King Louis XVI to the czar of the Russian Imperial Court. Veuve Clicquot has a record of a delivery that never reached its destination, and this wreckage found could possibly be that lost shipment.

Imagine, a Champagne meant for a king, and Christian Ekstrom pops a cork?

It’s estimated by experts that if this is the wine made between 1782 and 1788, each bottle would get about $69,000 at auction.

Independent.co.uk, story by John Lichfield in Paris:

A local wine expert, Ella Gruessner Cromwell-Morgan, was asked to test one of the bottles by the diving team. She said it tasted “absolutely fabulous” – although sweet by modern standards – and had lost none of its fizz. “I still have a glass in my fridge and keep going back every five minutes to take a breath of it. I have to pinch myself to believe it’s real.”

Ms Cromwell-Morgan said the champagne was dark golden in colour and smelled of tobacco, but also grape and white fruits, oak and mead. “It is really surprising, very sweet but still with some acidity,” she said.

And, this guy popped the cork!

What would you have done?

In light of this story, the Champagne Bureau is offering tips to help ensure your bubbly also withstands the test of time.

Aging – Although Champagne has already reached maturity by the time it is released, you can successfully store it for years in your own home. Make sure that your bottles are kept in a cool, dark place (like a shipwreck!).

Chilling – We recommend keeping the bottle cool, ideally between 45-50 degrees. When you are ready to enjoy it, serve the Champagne well-chilled. A Champagne bottle usually reaches its ideal temperature after twenty minutes in a bucket filled with ice and water.

Opening– Start by cutting the foil and undoing the wire cage, with the bottle pointed away from your face. Always hold the cork in one hand and gently twist the bottle with the other. You will feel the cork easing out.

The right time to drink Champagne – It’s always the right time to enjoy Champagne. Real Champagne only comes from Champagne, France!

For more information about the Champagne Bureau, contact Shira Levy at (202)777-3516, or slevy@clsdc.com

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10 Responses to “Man finds 230 year-old bottle of Champagne at sea and drinks it”

  1. Jon Bjork says:

    I’m glad he drank it! Isn’t that why we make wine in the first place?

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    If either of the governments step in, and declare they own the wine, then it was a brilliant move… He’ll go down in history with more flare. If he gets to keep his bounty, what’s another $69,000? I think you’re onto something, Jon.

  3. Lorrie S. LeBeaux says:

    Jo,

    I love Champagne and I love history. Just thinking a bottle that old being in excellent shape! The King was probably not happy!

    Makes you think about who produces the best Champagne. I have a few favorites; I find it depends on what type of meal I am preparing to determine the right weight of Champagne. But since I’m not in danger of buying any here in Little Rock, the prices are outrageous. I’d love to get some samples to review!

    Cheers,

    Lorrie

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    I think having a bit of residual sugar in the Champagne probably helped with its preservation… Maybe I’m wrong. I just know that an dessert wine lasts forever, because of the residual sugar… I think that’s part of the excellent shape, Lorrie.

  5. grapemaster says:

    the first great bottle of wine i had was pulled from a shipwreck of the coast of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. it was a 1934 rioja grand reserva from frederico paternina. at the time, the bottle was just over 40 yers old, but it was intact, youthful, no flaws from its rest in davy jones’ wine cellar.
    oh, and the wine, with dinner, for four people, was the equivalent of $6.
    that very bottle launched my interest and career in wine.

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    What a wonderful, personal story.

  7. And of course, all I could think of – what would it look like under the microscope. What beauty has been retained though sounds like it tasted beautiful. What a find. Thanks for the story.

  8. Richard says:

    Jo,

    For Champagne lovers, there is a great book called “The Widow Clicquot” by Tilar Mazzeo – it describes the travails of the very young Widow (or Veuve) Clicquot and how the Champagne house almost didn’t get started. It also describes the sunken ships and lost or stolen Champagne on it’s way, mainly, to Russia. Isn’t it fascinating to know that these bottles may very well have been personally bottled by Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin (the future Widow).

    And I’m glad he drank it – I would have done the same thing.

    Richard.

  9. Jo Diaz says:

    Sondra… Why am I not surprised that’s what you’d want to to with that Champagne!

    I’d love to see those results… What a great image that would be. Let’s find a way to get a bottle for you…

  10. Jo Diaz says:

    Richard,

    What a great connection back to the earlier story. It sounds like that mystery may be finally solved. And, Veuve means widow?! The way we come to learn things. I haven’t studied their story… Just know that I love the Champagne. Now, I’ll have to read the book.

    Thanks for the tip. I really appreciate you taking the time to bring this to my attention, and anyone else reading these comments.

    You’re right about his drinking it. He’s just done down in history as an amazing part of this story. He tasted history in a way that none of us other mere mortals can. What a great moment in his life. When anyone asks him his most memorable wine story… Oooo la la…

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