Text Size:-+

The World's Oldest Drinkable Champagne

underwater_bottle.jpgYou can file this story under Stuff I Want For Christmas. According to the BBC, a group of divers off the coast of Finland recently discovered a shipwreck they believe dates back to the late 18th Century. In the remains of the ship they found several intact glass bottles of wine, their contents still well preserved.

So what did they do? What any self-respecting wine lover would do.They drank some.

Believed to be Veuve Clicquot Champagne dating from between 1782 and 1788, the wine "had a very sweet taste, you could taste oak and it had a very strong tobacco smell. And there were very small bubbles" according to diver Christian Ekstrom.

While that isn't much of a tasting note, it still sends shivers of delight down my spine. How cool would it be to taste such a piece of history? A champagne that is almost as old as America itself would certainly be one of the most amazing things you would ever have the opportunity to consume.

Before this find, the oldest vintage of Champagne that had been tasted in modern times was the 1825 vintage of Perrier-Jouet opened for wine experts and the press last year.

It's not clear exactly how the determination was made that these were Veuve Cliquot, or what will happen to the 29 remaining bottles which presumably fall under the jurisdiction of the Finnish government.

The same BBC article suggested that unnamed "wine experts" suggested that the bottles could sell for about $69,000 each at auction.

Given the chance, I'd much rather have a sip of one of these bottles than an old claret that might have belonged to Thomas Jefferson. Anyone want to bet whether Bill Koch will get his hands on some?

Read the full story.

Comments (4)

robert sweeney wrote:
07.18.10 at 4:37 PM

Not surprised. The Widow Clicquot by Tilar J. Mazzeo is a good read.

07.18.10 at 6:48 PM

I think old Champagne is full of surprises even it's not entombed or even has any fizz left.I have appraised many cellars finding old Champagne discarded as of no value.This was not RD but over looked gem's often Bollinger has had great appeal long after the bubbles are gone.

akirabee333 wrote:
07.19.10 at 7:16 PM

Thanks for your DM on Twitter. I cannont send return DM to you because you do not follow me. I just wanted say that I really loved this old submarine champagne story. A whole new method for preserving wines through many generations?!

Mart S. wrote:
07.21.10 at 6:08 AM

I'll surely put that on my list! ;) Cheers!

Comment on this entry

(will not be published)
(optional -- Google will not follow)

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Buy My Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Delectable Flipboard

Most Recent Entries

Off to Portugal for a Drink Vinography Images: Hazy Afternoon The Dark Queen of Châteauneuf-du-Pape: Domaine du Pégau Does California Have Too Many AVAs? Vinography Unboxed: Week of October 26, 2014 Vinography Images: Shades of Autumn 16th Annual Pinot Fest: November 22, 2014 Hang out with the World's Top Wine Writers. For Free. Vinography Unboxed: Week of October 19, 2014 Vinography Images: Divine Droplets

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 Királyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy

Archives by Month


Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.