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From shipwrecked bounty, a bubbly sip

Champagne from one of the 168 bottles salvaged from an almost 200-year-old shipwreck was sampled yesterday. Champagne from one of the 168 bottles salvaged from an almost 200-year-old shipwreck was sampled yesterday. (Jussi Nukari/ Lehtikuva via Reuters)
Associated Press / November 18, 2010

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MARIEHAMN, Finland — An accent of mushrooms merged with sweet notes of honey in a sampling yesterday of what has been billed as the world’s oldest champagne, salvaged from a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea.

An expert who tasted the vintage bubbly was lyrical, detecting hints of chanterelles and linden blossom.

A reporter, who also sampled a bottle, found a slight fizz and flavors of yeast and honey.

The champagne — of the brands Veuve Clicquot and the now defunct Juglar — was recovered from a shipwreck discovered in July near the Aland Islands, between Sweden and Finland.

A total of 168 bottles were raised in the salvage operation, officials of the semiautonomous Finnish archipelago said.

“All bottles are not intact, but the majority are in good condition,’’ said Britt Lundeberg, Aland’s culture minister.

Experts had dated the champagne to the early 19th century.

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