Rare Roman wine jars discovered in shipwreck

It's common to take some water with your wine at a meal, but recent discoveries suggest the idea has been taken too far with not one but two discoveries of wine containers at the bottom of the sea.

This week the discovery of shipwrecks dating back to Roman times - the first century AD to be precise - has been made off the Italian coast thanks to the wonders of sonar.

The wrecks contain intact wine and oil jars - a remarkable find although it's safe to assume there's nothing drinkable left in there.

That contrasts with what was perhaps an even more remarkable discovery last week, when a team of divers discovered champagne dating to before the French Revolution - and what's more it was in excellent condition.

Diver Christian Ekstrom was exploring a shipwreck on the Baltic seabed when he found the bottles of sparkling wine, thought to have been made by Clicquot (now Veuve Clicquot) between 1782 and 1788. Naturally, he took one straight to the surface and tasted it with fellow divers, and found it was still in great condition.

If the date is confirmed, that would make them the oldest bottles in existence by 40 years (two bottles of 1825 Perrier-Jouet remain unopened - their counterpart tasted of 'truffles and caramel'), and worth around £45,000 per bottle at auction.


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