Yeah, but Can You Drink It: World's Oldest Beer, Champagne Found in Shipwreck

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Not the most traditional storage method, but still...
A Montrachet 1978 from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti: $23,929 at auction from Sotheby's.

A 1945 Mouton Rothschild: $12,000 on the open market.

One bottle of Chateau Lafite Bordeaux, dated 1787, from the private collection of Thomas Jefferson: $160,000 at auction from Christie's

1907 Heidsieck, lost in a shipwreck off the coast of Finland in 1916: $275,000, on the menu at the Ritz-Carlton, Moscow.

These are some seriously expensive wines--the kind of thing that only the world's most dedicated (obsessive might be a better word...) collectors will ever get their hands on.

But now, there might be something out there to beat them all, since salvage divers have just recently found another shipwreck (this one in the Baltic Sea, off the coast of the Aland Islands) that contained "dozens of bottles" of 200-year-old champagne that have now been brought to the surface.

Oh, but wait. That's not all the divers found...

According to a report on CNN, as soon as the recovery of the champagne bottles was completed, divers "uncovered a small collection of bottled beer on Wednesday from the same shipwreck."

Because of markings on the corks, the champagne was originally believed to have come from the well-known (and already historic) champagne house Veuve-Clicquot. And how did they figure this out, exactly? Well, they looked at the corks. They examined the bottles. And then these experts actually got to sample the two-century-old bubbly, from which they learned two things.

One: The champers was definitely not from Veuve-Clicquot, but instead had come from Juglar, a different champagne house, now defunct.

Two: Being a champagne expert is one of the greatest jobs in the world because estimates right now are saying that these bottles will likely sell for tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars when they eventually go up for auction.

Oh, and one other thing? The champagne is still drinkable. This, from

"'For this wine, time has stood still,' said Veuve-Clicquot's chief cellarman Dominique Demarville, one of a tiny number of people who has been allowed to taste a few millilitres of the find.

'It seems to me that it must taste the same as it did when it was made.'"

Demarville also said that the champagne "has an intense golden yellow hue with grey-brown reflections. The taste starts strongly with sugars, but progressively acidity takes over and a fresh sensation invades the palate. As it lies in the mouth, impressive smoky sensations dominate, marked by the same peat and tobacco notes that you sense in the nose."

Which is all just fancy wine-guy talk for "really good fucking bubbly-wine." Because of the depth, temperature, lack of tides, pressure and lightless environment found 50 meters down at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, the champagne was perfectly preserved, and dating of it now puts the bottles production date sometimes between 1800 and 1830.

All of which is awesome (for collectors, anyway, who must already be counting their billions and wondering how high the prices will go), but then there's that beer. No price had been estimated for those few bottles yet, but from the start, there was always the question of drinkability. No one really knew if beer could survive that long, even under such perfect conditions.

This question, though, was answered when, while bringing some of the bottles to the surface, one of them cracked. What came out was beer--still dark and foamy. And what do you think the divers did when they found the priceless bottle leaking?

They drank it, of course. And found it to be some damn fine (and well-aged) beer.

So I guess it's pretty cool to be a salvage diver, too.

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