The Worlds Oldest Champagne Veuve Clicquot – Auctioned Off For $43,560

World's oldest champagne auctioned for record-setting priceAFP/LEHTIKUVA – Champagne expert Richard Juhlin (L), Aaland government premier Viveka Eriksson (C) and auctioneer John …

MARIEHAMN, Finland (AFP) – A bottle of Veuve Clicquot, among the world’s oldest champagne, was auctioned Friday for a record-setting 30,000 euros ($43,560) near where it was found in a shipwreck at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

The nearly 200-year-old bottle was part of the booty from a shipwreck dating from between 1825 and 1830, and discovered last July on the sea floor near Finland’s autonomous Aaland archipelago.

“This is an emotional bottle, because this is the wine of Madame Clicquot herself,” Fabienne Moreau, a historian for Veuve Clicquot, told AFP, referring to Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, the woman who ruled the famous house in the 19th century.

The observers, media and bidding agents packed into the auditorium in the centre of Mariehamn burst into applause as auctioneer John Kapon, the head of speciality wine auctioneer Acker Merrall & Condit, cried: “A new world record, 30,000!” as he gavelled the winning bid.

Moreau, who has sampled the historic bubbly, said the record-setting auction price “proves the value of the wine and the prestige of the house”.

A bottle of champagne from the now-extinct house of Juglar, which was salvaged from the same wreck, sold for 24,000 euros in the same auction.

Kapon told AFP after the auction that a Singaporean buyer had bought both bottles.

The auction event included the sale of more than 40 other exclusive bottles from the cellars of Veuve Clicquot, each fetching more than 1,000 euros.

The record-setting price was a victory for the province of Aaland, which is hoping to turn the champagne auction into an annual event to boost its visibility as a tourist and luxury destination.

Bjoern Haeggblom, spokesman for the Aaland government, rejected criticism that all of the bottles belong in a museum as cultural treasures.

“The government believes that these bottles were made to be drunk,” he said, adding that all of the financial surplus from the auction will go to charitable causes, including financing marine archaeology and environmental protection in the region.

Champagne expert Richard Juhlin, who has tasted and helped to identify the salvaged bottles, said that while it’s not the best champagne he’s ever tasted, both were “very special.”

“Both the Juglar and the Veuve Clicquot share a mushroom note, and at the same time an aroma of leather,” he said.

According to Acker Merrall & Condit, the previous record for a champagne auction was set in 2008, when a bottle of 1959 Dom Perignon Rose sold for $40,000 (27,600 euros).

Nonetheless the price of Friday’s Veuve Clicquot fell far short of the most optimistic estimates.

In November 2010, when two bottles of the ancient champagne were uncorked for the world’s media and wine experts to taste, Juhlin told AFP that the bottles could fetch up to 100,000 euros each, although he qualified later that there was no way to know since bottles this old had never been sold before.

Kapon said that if the same bottles are auctioned off next year, they will most likely fetch an even greater price, because Friday’s sale “set a baseline” for what they are worth.



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