200-year-old champagne to be sold at auction in Finland

Bottles of Veuve Clicquot 
Photo Neilson Barnard

From AFP

Eleven bottles of 200-year-old champagne salvaged from a Baltic Sea shipwreck will be auctioned off this week in Finland, as officials said Monday they hoped for a new record for the price of a bottle.

Expectations were running high in Finland's autonomous province of Aaland, where the bottles were found in 2010, after a bottle of Veuve Clicquot from the same shipwreck was auctioned last year for a record-setting 30,000 euros ($37,400).

That "encouraged us to organise a new auction," Rainer Juslin, an Aaland provincial government official, said in a statement.

The bottles are part of the booty from a shipwreck dating from between 1825 and 1830, and discovered in July 2010 on the sea floor near Finland's autonomous Aaland archipelago.

A total of 145 bottles from the distinguished champagne houses of Veuve Clicquot, Heidsieck & Co and the now-defunct house of Juglar were rescued from the wreck, according to the Aaland Islands provincial government.

Six bottles of Juglar, four bottles of Veuve Clicquot and one bottle of Heidsieck & Co will be auctioned off on Friday.

Champagne expert Richard Juhlin, who tasted and helped to identify the salvaged bottles, has attested to the high quality of the champagne, which has preserved its taste thanks to ideal conditions at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

The Aaland government designated one of France's leading auction houses, Artcurial, to organise the auction, which will take place at the Congress and Cultural Centre in Mariehamn on Friday at 3:00 pm (1200 GMT).

The profits generated by the auction will go to a variety of charitable causes.

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