Cork Popped on World's Oldest Champagne

Bottles of 200-year-old bubbly found in shipwreck
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2010 3:25 PM CST
Cork Popped on World's Oldest Champagne
A current bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne is seen beside one of the 168 bottles of salvaged from a 200-year-old shipwreck off Aland Islands.   (AP Photo/Lehtikuva/Jussi Nukari)

(Newser) – How does champagne taste after spending around 200 years at the bottom of the sea? “The flavors that came to my mind were yeast, honey and—dare I say—a hint of manure,” writes Louise Nordstrom of the AP, one of 20 people invited to taste two of the 168 bottles of drinkable champagne a group of divers found in a shipwreck in July, believed to be the oldest drinkable champagne in the world. She was given the choice between sampling a Veuve Cliquot or a Juglar, a now-defunct champagne house: "Easy," she thought. "The Juglar doesn't exist anymore. Got to try it."

Initially, the divers believed the bottles were from 1780, but connoisseurs now say it’s probably from sometime in the early 19th century. After all that time, “the antique bubbly was barely bubbly,” Nordstrom reports, but it was otherwise astonishingly well-preserved and drinkable. “A mushroomy flavor soon gave way to sweet notes of honey. It tasted like a sugary dessert wine,” which makes sense, since champagne was sweeter back then. Click here to read how the Veuve Cliquot tasted.
(Read more champagne stories.)

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