BALTIC BUBBLY GOES FOR BIG BUCKS
The Åland islands are coming into some money. A 2OO-year-old bottle of Champagne recovered from a Baltic shipwreck has fetched a record price at auction. The bottle – identified as Veuve Clicquot – was part of a cache of 168 bottles found last summer in a wrecked schooner dating from 1825-3O in Finland’s Åland archipelago. It was sold to an anonymous bidder from Singapore for €3O,OOO (US $43,OOO) by New York auction house Acker Merrall and Condit in June in Mariehamn, the capital of the autonomous Åland archipelago between Finland and Sweden, near where the bottles were found. Acker said the same buyer paid €24,OOO (US $34,732) for another bottle of Champagne from the cache, from the now defunct Juglar house. Finnish Champagne expert Essi Avellan MW, editor of fine champagne magazine, who tasted some of the bottles when they were opened last November, was amazed by their freshness. “Both the wines were very much alive and remarkably fresh. As expected they were sweet in style, with a surprisingly bright, golden color and honeyed, toasty and farm-yardy aromatics. The Juglar was more harmonious and complete, while Veuve Clicquot’s aroma was overwhelmingly pungent and smoky, but the palate retained a freshness and immense concentration.” While the auction house claims the price paid for the Veuve Clicquot is a record, this has not been independently confirmed. According to the BBC, the Åland authorities want to turn the Champagne auction into an annual event to boost tourism.