Time to Pop the Bubbly: World’s Oldest Shipwrecked Champagne Set for Auction

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Richard Juhlin samples 200-year-old shipwrecked champagne. REUTERS/Jussi Nukari/Lehtikuva

Don’t think that just because a couple of bottles of champagne have been sitting at the bottom of the Baltic Sea for a couple of hundred years they won’t be worth much. Quite the opposite, in fact.

With a claim as the world’s oldest bottles of champagne, an auction has been set for June 3. And expect the bottles to fetch record prices, anywhere around $150,000. Each.

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In July, divers found a stash of about 150 champagne bottles during a search of a sunken two-masted schooner off the shores of Finland’s autonomous province of Aland. The local government uncorked some bottles for the media in November and announced they would hold an auction later on. Now that the auction date has been set and the location named as the capital city Mariehamn, attention turns to the two bottles: one from the house of Veuve-Clicquot and another from the defunct house of Juglar.

Experts peg the bottles at about 200 years old, bottled in the late 18th century or early 19th century. Conditions at the bottom of the sea actually preserved the champagne ideally.

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Champagne expert Richard Juhlin tasted some of the loot last year and says the Juglar is “more intense and powerful, mushroomy” and the Veuve-Clicquot has notes of “linden blossoms and lime peels.”

But you’ll have to take his word for it, unless you want to travel off the coast of Finland and get ready to slap down major cash on something somebody found on the bottom of the ocean.

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