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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Divers Discover 18th-Century Champagne

Divers working on a shipwreck near the Aland Islands discovered several bottles of what they was wine. They brought the bottles to the surface, hoping their dating would tell them more about the shipwreck. They were astonished to learn the bottle contained champagne. And they were impressed by its taste, which one described as "fantastic!"

The champagne is thought to have been bottled in the late 18th Century, making it the oldest drinkable champagne known. The oldest, verified, drinkable champagne is from 1825. The shipwreck is thought to have been Russian and carried cargo. It was found at a depth of approximately 200'. The conditions are excellent for storing alcohol: dark and cold.

The diving instructor who discovered the wreck, Christian Ekstrom, said he is confident of the bottle's age and authenticity, but samples have been sent to French labs for validation. Ekstrom described the champagne as "Very sweet... with a tobacco taste and oak."

If the champagne is authenticated, one expert said each bottle could fetch upwards of $100,000.

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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