200 –Year-Old Champagne

A 200 year-old bottle of Champagne recovered from a Baltic shipwreck has fetched a record price at auction. The bottle identified as Veuve Clicquot-was part of a cache of 168 bottles found last summer (2010) in a wrecked schooner dating from 1825-30 in Finland’s Áland archipelago.

It was sold to an anonymous bidder from Singapore for €30,000 by New York auction house Acker Merrall and Condit last Friday 24th June  in Mariehamn, the capital of the autonomous Áland archipelago between Finland and Sweden, near where the bottles were found.

Acker said the same buyer paid €24,000 for another bottle of Champagne from the cache, from the now defunct Juglar house.

Finnish Champagne expert Essi Avellan MW, editor if Fine Champagne magazine, who tasted some of the bottles when they were opened last November, said she was astonished by their freshness.

‘Both the wines were very much alive and remarkably fresh. As expected they were sweet in style, with a surprisingly bright golden colour and honeyed, toasty and farmyard aromatics.

‘The Juglar was more harmonious and complete, while Veuve Clicquot’s aroma was overwhelmingly pungent and smoky, but the palate retained a freshness and immense concentration.’

While the auction house claims the price paid for the Veuve Clicquot is a record, this has not been independently confirmed.

Acker has claimed previous records for rare Champagne: March 2009 it sold a bottle of 1928 Krugin Hong Kong for €15,900, and in 2008 two bottles of Dom Perignon Rosé 1959 were sold for €43,000, or about €27,600 each.

According to the BBC, the Áland authorities want to turn the Champagne auction into an annual event to boost tourism. (AOG July,2011).

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