Monday, June 30, 2014

Veuve Clicquot buries champagne in Baltic Sea in ageing experiment

When Christian Ekstrom, a local diver, finally got to explore a sunken two-masted schooner he had known about for years, he found bottles, lots of bottles, so he brought one to the surface. That was in Mariehamn, Finland. And that significant discovery of shipwrecked bottles from 2010 has inspired Veuve Clicquot to make this unusual experiment in the same area. French champagne house based in Reims has buried 300 bottles and 50 magnums of its Champagne in the Baltic Sea.

The bottles of bubbly encaged in a specially built, underwater cellar, will remain buried for 50 years, some 43 metres deep near the privately owned island of Silverska in the Aland archipelago off the Finland coast.
“The idea,” said Veuve Clicquot’s chief winemaker, Dominique Demarville, “is to try and replicate the [2010] discovery by sinking a selection of various cuvees to the seabed to see how the wine ages when compared with the same wines in Clicquot’s own cellars in Reims.

“The sea remains at a pretty constant four degrees celsius compared to our cellar’s 11 degrees,” said Demarville. “And at that depth the pressure of around 5 atmospheres is very close to the pressure inside the bottles.”

Champagne experts will be invited to compare the seabed Champagne with the bottles in Veuve Clicquot’s cellars in two or three years.


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