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Auto critic Robert Ross sifts through the barn-find phenomenon at auction—and in his own garage.

Shipwreck Champagnes on the Auction Block

  • Shipwreck wines
  • Veuve Clicquots cork

Two of the oldest and rarest bottles of wine in the world will be sold on June 3 at Alandica Culture and Congress Center in Finland’s Åland islands by the Acker Merrall & Condit wine auction house. Divers discovered the Veuve Clicquot and Juglar bottles last summer in a 19th-century shipwreck in the Åland archipelago, where the Gulf of Bothnia meets the Baltic Sea. The name of the sunken vessel is still unknown, but it is thought that the ship was heading to St. Petersburg and the court of the Russian Emperor, Nicholas I.

The June auction will feature the two recovered vintage Champagnes, which date to the early 1840s and are believed to be the oldest existing Champagnes for sale. In the days preceding the auction, the government of Åland, which owns the priceless bottles, will host exclusive dinners and tastings showcasing many of the world’s great Champagnes in honor of the find. (www.ackerwines.com/aland)

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