July 20, 2010

Diver Discovers World’s Oldest Drinkable Champagne

A diver exploring a shipwreck on the Baltic seafloor has uncovered 30 bottles of champagne believed to have been made by Clicquot (now Veuve Clicquot) between 1782 and 1788.

The bottles, whose shape suggests production before the French Revolution, were still in good condition, and are now on their way to France for analysis.

The champagne was perfectly preserved due to the seabed's dark, cold conditions.

If confirmed, the discovery would be the world's oldest drinkable champagne.

Diver Christian Ekstrom was exploring a shipwreck on the Baltic seabed when he discovered the bottles, one of which he took to the surface to open and taste with his associates.

"It was fantastic," Ekstrom said during an interview with Reuters.

"It 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 records, production of Clicquot champagne began in 1772, but was disrupted after the French Revolution in 1789.

If the bottles were indeed produced in the 1780s, the champagne would be approximately four decades older than the current record-holder for oldest bottle of champagne -- a bottle of Perrier-Jouet from 1825.

Wine experts estimate that each bottle of the newly discovered champagne would sell for around $69,000.

Ekstrom found the bottles in water off the coast of Aaland, Finland. Local authorities there will now decide what will be done with the champagne, and the shipwreck.