Article on the discovery of champagne bottles at the bottom of the sea.
Level: Intermediate +
Contributed by: Sean Banville - find Sean's websites at: www.freeeslmaterials.com
Reading, listening and discussion activities, together with printable class handouts, and online quizzes for the article below are available from www.breakingnewsenglish.com
200-Year-Old Deep-Sea Champagne Found
The world’s oldest champagne has been found under the Baltic Sea off the coast of Finland. In truth, at 200 years old, it is actually the world’s oldest drinkable bubbly. Deep-sea divers came across 168 bottles of the vintage beverage during an underwater exploration. Experts believe the champagne was on its way to the royal family in Russia when the boat carrying it sank. It has spent the past two centuries maturing. The ancient bottles were from the famous Veuve Cliquot winery. A company spokesperson explained why they lasted so long, saying: "The reason is the Baltic Sea offers perfect storage conditions. There is total darkness, and the water pressure is similar to what's inside the bottle.”
One hundred experts and journalists gathered at a special champagne-tasting event in Mariehamn, Finland to get a sip of the famous sparkling wine. Swedish wine connoisseur Richard Juhlin was the first to taste it. He told reporters: "Bottles kept at the bottom of the sea are better kept than in the finest wine cellars.” Mr Juhlin added that after 200 years, the bubbly had lost its fizz but not its flavour. He described the taste as "more intense and powerful, mushroomy…with lime peels". Veuve Cliquot winemaker Francois Hautekeur described the importance of the event: “It was the best moment in my professional career, maybe my life,” he said. The champers will be auctioned for as much as $135,000 per bottle.