Shipwreck Exploration Yields Oldest Champagne

17 July 2013

In a moment reminiscent of the Cousteau team’s taste of a 2,000-year-old Greek wine a half-century ago, (“a poor vintage,” wrote Captain Cousteau), seven Swedish divers may have unearthed the world’s oldest drinkable champagne while exploring a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea. Looking for a clue to the ship’s age or identity, the divers brought up one of about 30 bottles they found lying nearby. When they tasted the contents, they were delighted to find out that it was a drinkable, sweet bubbly wine. The cold, calm conditions of the seafloor 180 feet down helped preserve it. The bottle is unlabeled but the cork is marked with an anchor, which has led to speculation that the wine is a Veuve Cliquot made by Moët & Chandon. The exact location of the remaining bottles is being kept a secret until they are recovered. Meanwhile authorities are trying to sort out who has legal claim to the wreck: it lies near the Aland Islands between Sweden and Finland.