The World’s Oldest Champagne

Discovery

On 16 July 2010 diver Christian Ekström reveals what is believed to be the world’s oldest champagne bottles salvaged from a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea in the southern parts of  the Åland Islands’ archipelago . The champagne bottles had been discovered and one bottle brought to the surface on July 13th.

Is the Champagne for Real?

The question soon arises wether or not it the sparkling wine is real champagne or not. At a meeting in Stockholm on July 22th 2010 experts from Champagne, France conclude that the first bottle is indeed a real champagne bottle. However the age of the champagne still remains unsolved. Swedish champagne expert Richard Juhlin the bottles came contained champagne from the house of Veuve Clicquot. However, Veuve Clicquot later denounced this, as they believe that the bottle is from the champagne house Juglar, which has ceased operations. This is supported by the fact that the divers had previously reported the cork to have the imprint “Juclar” and a picture of an anchor.

Is it the World’s Oldest Champagne?

The cellarmaster at Veuve Clicquot Dominique Demarville currently believes that the bottle was  produced sometime between 1800 and 1830th. There are two Perrier-Jouet bottles from 1825 still in existence that have officially been recognised by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest. Hence it might be a close call and it might not even be possible to precisely determine the age of the newly discovered bottles.

What does the Champagne taste like?

Sommelier Ella Grüssner Cromwell-Morgan described the taste:
The champagne was amber coloured and packed with aromas. It had a robust taste of tobacco leaves, dried fruit, and raisins and I could clearly taste the oak barrel ageing. [The taste] was heavy with a lots of flavour, a little bit like when you make home made mead. It was like sitting in a leather chair smoking a cigar.

Are all bottles of the same type/brand/house?

 

A total of 168 bottles have been salvaged and they are from three different champagne houses:

  • 95 bottles of Juglar
  • 46  bottles of Veuve Clicquot
  • 4 bottles of Heidsieck

 

 

Where can I see the bottles?

The first (now empty) champagne bottle is up for display at the Åland Museum.
Photo: Marcus Lindholm/the Åland Board of Antiquities

Where were the bottles found?

In the southern parts of the Åland Island archipelago.
champagne-bottles-shipwreck-baltic-sea
Photo: Anders Näsman/the Åland Board of Antiquities

When where the champagne bottles salvaged?

At end of August and the beginning of September 2010.

It what condition are the champagne bottles?

The bottles and the content is in mint condition.

Who owns the bottles?

The Government of Åland.

When can I buy one and how much will I have?

An auction will be held 3 June 2011 at which two bottles will be sold.

How many bottles of champagne are there?

About 168.

Where are the champagne bottles currently stored?

The champagne bottles are immersed in water in a secret and secure location.

How much are the bottles worth?

Preliminary estimates by experts put the price at starting at 50.000€.

Photos of the World’s Oldest Champagne:

Click on the images for larger images and credits.