Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

FOCUS

Many Turks angry over Syrian refugee situation

Read more

ENCORE!

Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday : The Best of the Bard

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

The Tour de France, a PR machine

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the third plane crash in one week - from France, Algeria and Burkina Faso

Read more

  • ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Culture

Divers discover 230-year-old champagne on Baltic seabed

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-07-17

Divers have found champagne believed to be 230-year-old Veuve Clicquot preserved in the cold darkness of the Baltic seabed. The 30 bottles may have been part of a consignment from France's King Louis XVI to Russian Tsar Peter the Great.

AFP - Divers have found bottles of champagne some 230 years old on the bottom of the Baltic which a wine expert described Saturday as tasting "fabulous."
   
Thought to be premium brand Veuve Clicquot, the 30 bottles discovered perfectly preserved at a depth of 55 metres (180 feet) could have been in a consignment sent by France's King Louis XVI to Russian Tsar Peter the Great.
   
If confirmed, it would be by far the oldest champagne still drinkable in the world, thanks to the ideal conditions of cold and darkness.
   
"We have contacted (makers) Moet & Chandon and they are 98 percent certain it is Veuve Clicquot," Christian Ekstroem, the head of the diving team, told AFP.
   
"There is an anchor on the cork and they told me they are the only ones to have used this sign," he added.
   
The group of seven Swedish divers made their find on July 6 off the Finnish Aaland island, mid-way between Sweden and Finland, near the remains of a sailing vessel.
   
"Visibility was very bad, hardly a metre," Ekstroem said. "We couldn't find the name of the ship, or the bell, so I brought a bottle up to try to date it."
   
The hand-made bottle bore no label, while the cork was marked Juclar, from its origin in Andorra.
   
According to records, Veuve Clicquot was first produced in 1772, but the first bottles were laid down for ten years.
   
"So it can't be before 1782, and it can't be after 1788-89, when the French Revolution disrupted production," Ekstroem said.
   
Aaland wine expert Ella Gruessner Cromwell-Morgan, whom Ekstroem asked to taste the find, said it had not lost its fizz and was "absolutely fabulous."
   
"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," she said.
   
Cromwell-Morgan described the champagne as dark golden in colour with a very intense aroma.
   
"There's a lot of tobacco, but also grape and white fruits, oak and mead," she said of the wine's "nose".
   
As for the taste, "it's really surprising, very sweet but still with some acidity," the expert added, explaining that champagne of that period was much less dry than today and the fermentation process less controllable.
   
"One strong supposition is that it's part of a consignment sent by King Louis XVI to Tsar Peter the Great," Cromwell-Morgan said. "The makers have a record of a delivery which never reached its destination."
   
That would make it the oldest drinkable champagne known, easily beating the 1825 Perrier-Jouet tasted by experts in London last year.
   
Cromwell-Morgan estimated the opening price at auction of each bottle at around half a million Swedish kronor (53,000 euros, 69,000 dollars).
   
"But if it's really Louis XVI's wine, it could fetch several million," she added.
   
The remaining bottles, which could number more than the 30 uncovered by the divers, will remain on the seabed for the time being. Their exact location is being kept secret.
   
Meanwhile local authorities on Aaland will meet Monday to decide who legally owns the contents of the wreck. The archipelago at the mouth of the Gulf of Bothnia belongs to Finland, though it enjoys autonomy from Helsinki and its inhabitants speak Swedish.
 

Date created : 2010-07-17

  • FRANCE

    Bordeaux wine industry aims to reclaim foreign markets

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Court sentences wine dealers for selling fake Pinot Noir to US firm

    Read more

COMMENT(S)