Friday 23 March 2018

Excitement bubbles over as 220-year-old champagne found

John Lichfield in Paris

A TREASURE trove of two centuries-old, but perfectly drinkable, champagne has been found near a shipwreck 180ft deep in the Baltic. It is thought that the champagne may belong to a consignment sent to the tsar of Russia by King Louis XVI just before the French revolution. If so, the bottles -- at least 30 of them -- could be worth millions at auction.

The wreck was located by Swedish divers just off the coast of Aaland, one of a chain of Swedish-speaking, self-governing islands which belong to Finland. A meeting will take place with local authorities today to decide who owns the 220-year-old bubbly and any other treasure on board.

The champagne has been provisionally identified as made in the period 1772-1789 by the company that later became known as Veuve Clicquot. If so, the bottles -- preserved in perfect conditions of cold and darkness -- are the oldest known drinkable champagne.

A local wine expert, Ella Gruessner Cromwell-Morgan, was asked to test one of the bottles. She said it tasted "absolutely fabulous" 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," she said. (© Independent News Service)

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