Champagne from shipwreck up for grabs
By Leslie Gevirtz
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two bottles of champagne, thought to be about 200 years old and part of a cache of 150 salvaged from a 19th century shipwreck in the Baltic Sea, will be auctioned in Finland in June.
The cache, which belongs to the government of Aland, an archipelago in the Baltic, includes a bottle from the house of Veuve Clicquot and another from Juglar, which closed its doors in the early 19th century.
Acker Merrall & Condit, of New York, will auction the two bottles on June 3.
When the first bottle was recovered from the sunken two-masted schooner dating from about 1780-1830, Swedish champagne writer Richard Juhlin estimated it would fetch about 500,000 Swedish krona ($82,000).
"We didn't know if it was going to be anything drinkable," Ella Grussner Cromwell-Morgan, a sommelier who lives on Aland, said in a telephone interview about the first bottle.
Wine experts estimated from the corks and the hand-blown bottles that the wines were produced between 1811 and 1831.
"Most likely they're older than that, because in those days they kept wine stored for 10-12 years in barrels before they shipped it," said Christian Erikson, the diver who discovered the cache.
Erikson, a friend of Cromwell-Morgan, brought the first bottle to her. Continued...