200-year-old champagne to be auctioned

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

HELSINKI - Two bottles of rare champagne salvaged from a 200-year-old shipwreck in the Baltic Sea revealed their secrets at a tasting ceremony Wednesday.

The bottles were discovered by a team of divers earlier this summer on the wreck in the archipelago of the semi-autonomous Aland Islands, located between Sweden and Finland.

Britt Lundberg, a local culture minister, said the islands’ government plans to auction some of the 168 salvaged bottles.

The taste was “wonderful”, Swedish champagne expert Richard Juhlin told reporters at the event in Mariehamn, organised by the government of the Swedish-speaking islands, which are part of Finland. Juhlin is reputed to have tasted 7,000 different champagnes.

Tests and analysis of cork stamps suggest that the team found two kinds of champagne made by Veuve Clicquot and Juglar, a champagne house founded in 1802 and sold in 1829.

Each bottle could fetch tens of thousands of dollars.

Not all bottles were intact. There were also plans to blend some bottles with other champagne, while others were to be preserved.

The consistent water temperature and light levels at the depth of the wreck - some 50 metres below the surface - helped preserve the champagne. In addition, seawater did not seep in due to the pressure in the bottles.

Experts are still trying to determine the identity of the ship.

Filed under: Economy

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