Oldest champagne retrieved from Baltic Sea has a ‘Cheesy’ taste!
In 2010 divers retrieved about 168 bottles of vintage 170 years old champagne from the Baltic Sea. The champagne is now being analysed in a laboratory run by Philippe Jeandet a Biochemist at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne in France, but only 2 millimetres were provided for the analysis. The champagne is probably the oldest sample present ever and Jeandet tasted a one droplet squirt through a micro-syringe.
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According to Jeandet the sample shows the champagne has been very well preserved in the seabed amd its analysis could offer clues to the 19th century wine production processes. Recently Jeandet along with his co-workers reported the findings of the analysis in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on April 20th.
The champagne bottles were discovered in the Finnish Åland archipelago shipwreck and identified as 19th century through the engravings on the corks. Only two bottles were auctioned off and sold for $44000 a record for champagne and the money from the proceeds went to fund marine archaeology project scholarships.
The nalaysis on the sugar content of the champagne revealed the bottles may have been en route to German Markets, where moderately sweet wines were a favorite. However by today’s standards the wine would be extremely sweet as the bottles has less than half of 300 grams of sugar per liter.
The champagne also has significantly higher contents of iron and copper probably from using taille a lower quality grape juice produced from pressing. The samples also contain a low alcoholic content of only 9.5% while modern champagnes contain 12%.
When the champagne was sampled by expert tasters it was described having a ‘Cheesy’ taste along with other tastes of ripe fruits, truffles, smoke and honey. The aromas emitting from the champagne after a swirl and oxygenation were described as spicy, smoky and leathery.
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