In 1998, the discovery of the sunken Swedish freighter Jönköping off Finland surfaced about 2,000 very old bottles of bubbly. During World War I, the ship was chartered to deliver its fizz to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, but was waylaid by the torpedo of a German submarine.
Fortunately for collectors and wine aficionados, the frigid waters were at the right pressure to spare some of the contents. It’s not the oldest champagne found and auctioned as a novelty, but the 1907 Heidsieck & Co Monopole Diamant Bleu “Shipwrecked” Cuvée went for the record-breaking price of $275,000 a bottle! A lucky guy who actually got a tipple, said:
The wine had intense aromas of gunflint and black rifle powder mixed with a briny note like roasted oysters. Then there were notes of graham cracker, burnt lemon oil, and flamed oranges. Massive flavors of caramelized bananas, burnt citrus, and kerosene provided an extremely long, salty finish. Maybe it was the power of suggestion, but I could taste the sea, the explosion, and the Champagne all at once—it was absolutely mind-blowing, with just a touch of bubbles remaining, so you knew it was Champagne.
Wow, that description might even intimidate the bold thief of 3 million dollars’ worth of fine wine, who simply swapped more than a thousand bottles of first-growth Bordeaux for Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck. We don’t claim to have the elevated palates of sommeliers, but perhaps to match the uber-expensive vintage above, maybe a nice black cherry soda doctored with pickle juice and sterno fuel?
Oh, who are we kidding? At Crime HQ, we’re just going to crack open the standby from our battered desk drawer and raise our dirty glasses to you!
Happy New Year! Hope 2013 doesn’t suck!