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200-year-old Veuve-Clicquot Champagne to be auctioned in Finland

Bottles of Champagne salvaged from a 19th-century Baltic Sea shipwreck, Veuve-Clicquot and Heidsieck among them, will be auctioned in Finland in June.

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Swedish Champagne expert Richard Julin tastes a 200-year-old champagne, on November 17, 2010 in Mariehamn. Finnish officials pop the cork of a 200-year-old bottle of Champagne, after bottles of what is believed to be the world's oldest bubbly were discovered on July 2010 in a shipwreck, at a depth of fifty meters, southeast of Mariehamn, on the southwestern Finnnish Aaland Islands of the Baltic Sea. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)

Two bottles of 200-year-old Champagne salvaged from a 19th-century Baltic Sea shipwreck will be auctioned in Finland in June.

One of the auctioned bottles will be from the house of Veuve-Clicquot and the other from the now extinct house of Juglar, Agence France-Press reported. 

The bottles are part of a cache found aboard a two-masted schooner that ran aground between 1825 and 1830 and that Finnish divers stumbled upon last July.

Wine experts who studied the corks and hand-blown bottles said the wines were produced between 1811 and 1831, Reuters reports.

"Most likely they're older than that, because in those days they kept wine stored for 10 to 12 years in barrels before they shipped it," said Christian Erikson, the diver who discovered the cache.

Salvaging the bottles — among a batch of about 150 which were preserved in ideal conditions at the bottom of the Baltic Sea and include Heidsieck Champagne — began in August.

The batch will be auctioned in Mariehamn, the capital of the autonomous province of Aaland, which owns the Champagne, on June 3 by auction house Acker Merrall and Condit, of New York.

"These bottles are unparalleled in the market. You can only speculate on what the end price will be, but it will probably be at record levels," Swedish Champagne expert Richard Juhlin said, AFP reported.

In November, when the Champagne was uncorked for the world's media and wine experts to taste, Juhlin told AFP that either bottle — the Veuve-Clicquot or the Juglar — could fetch $145,000.

At the time, he reportedly described the Juglar as "more intense and powerful, mushroomy," and the Veuve-Clicquot as more like Chardonnay, with notes of "linden blossoms and lime peels."

The Aaland archipelago at the mouth of the Gulf of Bothnia belongs to Finland, though it enjoys autonomy from Helsinki and locals speak Swedish.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/110426/champagne-bubbly-bottles-finland