...retained its sparkle and tastes excellent, experts exclaimed.

The pronouncement was delivered at a tasting in Mariehamn, in Finland's Aaland Islands, to sample 168 bottles uncovered by divers last July in the shipwreck of a two-masted schooner between Sweden and Finland.

A minimum of 3 of the bottles were established yesterday as from the present day successful Veuve Clicquot house and others came from Maison Juglar, that went out of business in 1830.

The sunken vessel, located in 2007, 50m below the surface of the sea, is thought to have gone down around 1825 to 1830. Experts have been impressed with the quality of the champagne. Most of the bottles still had their seal. "Great! Wonderful!" pronounced Richard Juhlin, a champagne writer from Sweden who has tasted the Cliquot and Juglar. "I think what strikes you the most is that it's such an intense aroma," he said.

The Juglar tasted, he said: "more intense and powerful, mushroomy," and the Veuve Clicquot much more ike chardonnay, with hints of "linden blossoms and lime peels".

He added: "Bottles kept at the bottom of the sea are better kept than in the finest wine cellars."

Francois Hautekeur, of Veuve Clicquot's winemaking team, spoke of "a toasted, zesty nose with hints of coffee, and a very agreeable taste with accents of flowers and lime-tree...Madame Clicquot herself must have tasted this same batch," he mused, with reference to Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, who presided over the famous Champagne house.

No labels survived on the bottles, brought up from the sea over the last few weeks and gratefully tasted by the divers involved in the salvage. Experts dated the wine to the early nineteenth century.

Before this underwater cache was found, the oldest drinkable champagne known to exist was considered to be an 1825 vintage that is still in the cellar at the Perrier-Jouet house.

The boat was likely on a journey from Germany to Finland, a Russian province at the time.  A rare fine wine of equal standing also entered the record books on Tuesday evening: an imperial-size bottle of Cheval Blanc 1947, a very rare Bordeaux, sold for $US304,375 in Geneva; the highest recorded price for a bottle of wine.

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COPOUT Book by Nick Breeze

Climate change podcast

Last week a picture was posted on Twitter of vines in Shabo, a large estate that lies to the west of Odesa on southern Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline. The image seemed benign at face value but the reality, of course, is that the city of Odesa has been bracing itself for attack by Russian forces. 


As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.



Britain’s lamentable exit

On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.

I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!


Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.


Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.


The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.


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