Friday, 25 July 2008

Ship Wrecked Champagne

Given that Louis Roederer, one of France's oldest champagne producers is storing its champagne on the seabed off Northern France to see if it tastes better if it is kept in cold sea water and rocked by currents, I wondered what real ship wrecked champagne would taste like.

Champagne discovered on board the Jőngkőping, which was sunk by a German submarine in 1916, was bought at an auction in Toronto. The Jőngkőping was carrying 5000 bottles of Heidsieck's Goût Américain Champagne of the 1907 vintage (the same brand and year that the Titanic was carrying when it went down). The champagne was found at 210 feet where it had been preserved at a constant temperature of 3º – 4ºC. The champagne of this era was sweet rather than dry and once opened there was still a “pop” and a sparkle!

In 2004 Folkestone Diving Club discovered 20,000 half bottles of Champagne in a sunken French cargo ship, somewhere in the English Channel. The ship was heading for England when it sank in a storm on July 16, 1955. The wrecked ship was The Seine which sank after allegedly hitting a Russian freighter in stormy seas.

It is believed the champagne it was carrying was bottled about five years earlier to commemorate the end of the golden guinea coin - which experts could see faintly stamped on foil on some of the corks.

On opening the Champagne it was described as "pongy" – although it wasn't bad or spoiled it had a very slight hint of fish but didn't taste salty.

Check out our Champagnes starting at £16.49 a bottle at the Wine Shop.

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