Sunday, 18 July 2010

Vintage champers pulled from a shipwreck

How delightful!

Proving that things from the days just before the French Revolution can still stand the test of time and delight those of us with good taste, a group of Scandinavian divers have recovered a bottle of champagne from a shipwreck that lies between Sweden and Finland.

Recovered and imbibed.

The ship, which went down sometime in the 1780s, had a cargo of fine champagne intended for delivery at the Imperial Court in Saint Petersburg. The divers who recovered the first of the sunken cargo had the - I think - very sensible strategy of popping the antique bubbly before they even got it back to shore. They do say that sailing drunk is the best way to do it.

The head diver and chief champagne-sipper, Christian Ekstrom, said: "We brought up the bottle to be able to establish how old the wreck was. We didn't know it would be champagne. We thought it was wine or something."

Well, that's good... at least 200 year old champagne once intended for the table of the Romanovs went on someone who really appreciated it...

Ekstrom concluded: "It tasted fantastic. It was a very sweet champagne, with a tobacco taste and oak."

There are still crates of the stuff at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, so I say the only proper thing to do is to grab your snorkel and your coupés. Get diving and be prepared to raise a glass to the ancien régime's finest bottles of submerged champers!

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