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Just off the southwest coast of Britain, 100 meters below sea level, lies a First World War merchant ship holding an extremely rare and valuable cargo.

Codenamed “Mercury,” the ship has laid on the seabed undisturbed for over a century, according to luxury adventure tourism company Cookson Adventures. Torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1918, Mercury was making her way to the U.K. from Bordeaux, carrying a precious cargo of Champagne, brandy, fine wine, and Benedictine.

The ship’s location was only discovered recently, and a team of divers has just completed an initial exploration of part of the vessel. According to Cornwall Live, the dive revealed “hundreds of intact bottles of vintage alcohol including Champagne, wine, and brandy.”

Though they’ve spent more than a century underwater, wine experts believe the darkness and constant cool temperatures will have helped preserve the cargo, and the wine should be drinkable upon its return to the surface.

That’s incredible news but it gets better…if you have enough $$$

Cookson Adventures is partnering with a team of marine scientists and wine experts to salvage the historical artifacts, and they’re allowing (paying) members of the public to join them for the adventure.

The next stage of the expedition will see submarines and remotely-operated underwater vehicles dive to the seabed to complete a further survey of the area and recover a few bottles.

Cookson Adventures hasn’t disclosed how much this is all going to cost, but private chefs and helicopter rides don’t come cheap. On the other hand, century-old Champagne…

The story is courtesy of Cornwall Live, and VinePair.com. Written by McKirdy  Photo by Cookson Adventures.

I’ve been seeing Breathless Sparkling Wines around more and more lately. They’ve been winning awards, and I hear people say it’s their favorite bottle of bubbles. It was time to find out more about this burgeoning winery. The three sisters who share ownership and responsibilities pursued the endeavor inspired by their mother’s zest for life. I enjoyed a tasting and interview with Sharon, and admitted to her that I prefer still wines over sparkling. The one they have now captured my heart…the silky, lightly sweet Ratafia. Like liquid gold. Speaking of which, they’ve already picked up 10 Gold medals in 2018, four of which were Double Golds. To that I say “Cheers!”

 

 

Breathless Sparkling Wines

What is a vintage wine?  It’s the wine made out of the single year’s harvest, the date on the label is the vintage. It does not indicate the year the wine was bottled.

Non-vintage wines are those produced by mixing harvests of two years or more. On occasion you’ll see NV on the label marking the distinction.  This is a common practice with Champagne and sparkling wine producers as winemakers provide a continuous house style through the blending of various vintages, to create the yearly non-vintage Champagne.

It’s not uncommon to see vintage year sparkling wines in California. However, in the Champagne region of France, vintages are generally produced three or four times a decade. This represents less than 5% of total Champagne production.

Vintage and Non-Vintage Wine

As you see, the vintage of this Lanson Champagne is 1998

Vintage and Non-Vintage Wine

This label does not indicate a year which would suggest a non-vintage Champagne

I should note, often a vintage date may appear on the foil of the bottle or on an attached tag,
especially these days with screen printed wine labels.

As you see here, Lanson does put their vintage dates on the label so it is likely the Black Label is a
non-vintage Champagne. As it turns out, Black Label was chosen to indicate a specific non-vintage Champagne they bottle to honor the long relationship it has with the British Court.

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