Stranger than fiction: Champagne

A story that occasionally resurfaces on my radar is that of shipwrecked cargo – in this case Champagne, lost at sea some 170 years ago. Sunk off the coast of Finland, this booty was probably en route to Russia from France – according to shipping routes of the early 19th Century.champagne.Capture

Beyond the circumstances of this incident at sea, I wonder about the sheer extravagance enjoyed by the elites across Europe at a time when life expectancy for most people fell within the 25 to 35 year old range (according to varying sources).

That is a murky past that ought to resurface along with the bottles – yet the popular charm of this particular Champagne seems to be its overblown value in the present day.

*

Monitoring the above story over the past couple of years led me to give ‘the bubbly’ a fictionalised nod in Monkey Steals Plum… and, yes, I opted to use the lower case spelling of champagne.

[Excerpt]

Pop. The flowing contents of the unique champagne bottles were Feng’s reward to the flight and landing team. They each received a bottle of the rarest champagne. Avinash read the label.

‘1820.’

Avinash was pleased but reminded Olga that he did not drink.

‘I’ll have it for you, if you like.’

‘No. I will cherish it, perhaps to open it when we land our manned mission.’

 


 

 

 

 

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