Wine from Civil War-era shipwreck uncorked in South Carolina

Fri Mar 6, 2015 7:37pm EST
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By Harriet McLeod

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) - A bottle of wine recovered intact four years ago from the 1864 wreck of a Civil War blockade runner that sank off the coast of Bermuda was uncorked and sipped by a panel of experts on Friday during a food festival in Charleston, South Carolina.

The verdict: A heady sulfur bouquet with distinct notes of saltwater and gasoline.

The wine was uncorked at a Charleston Wine + Food event titled "From Deep Below: A Wine Event 150 Years in the Making."

About 50 people bought tickets to watch as a panel of wine experts decanted and tasted it on Friday evening, organizers said.

"I've had shipwreck wines before," master sommelier Paul Roberts said. "They can be great."

This one, obviously, was not.

To peals of audience laughter, the panel said the cloudy yellow-gray liquid smelled and tasted like a mixture of crab water, gasoline, salt water and vinegar, with hints of citrus and alcohol.

It could have been a Spanish fortified wine, a spirit, or medicine. But after 151 years at the bottom of the ocean, it's now mostly saltwater, they said.   Continued...

Joe Lapore, from the Waitt Institute, holds a bottle recovered from the Civil War blockade runner ship Mary-Celestia, which sank off Bermuda in 1864, with diver Stuart Joblin, in this handout photo provided by LookBermuda/Chris Burville and taken on June 19, 2011.   REUTERS/LookBermuda/Chris Burville/Handout via Reuters