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200-year-old Champagne to be auctioned

Two bottles of Champagne which lay for 200 years in the Baltic Sea come under the hammer in Finland in June.

They are part of a cache of 168 bottles found last summer in a wrecked schooner dating from the second quarter of the 19th century, in Finland’s Åland archipelago.

The name of the vessel is still unknown, as is its destination, but it is thought the cargo was bound for the court of the Russian Emperor Nicholas I in St Petersburg.

The bottles were pronounced ‘very much alive and remarkably fresh’ by Essi Avellan MW, editor of Finland’s FINE Champagne magazine, who tasted them last September.

The cache was first identified as Champagne Juglar, a house which was absorbed into Champagne Jacquesson in 1829.

Experts later found some bottles were Veuve Clicquot non-vintage from the early 1830s.

Two bottles – one each from Veuve Clicquot and Juglar – will be auctioned by Acker Merrall and Condit at the Alandica Culture and Auction Centre in Åland at 3pm on 3 June 2011. No price estimate has been given.

Acker CEO John Kapon said, ‘Having survived nearly two centuries, these amazing bottles of vintage Champagne are without precedent. And it is our enormous privilege to partner with the Government of Åland in presenting these unique wines to the world.’

Up to now the oldest existing bottles of Champagne – dating back to 1825 – were kept in the depths of the Perrier-Jouët cellars in Champagne.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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