A treasure trove of antique champagne discovered in the Baltic Sea during the summer is about to go to auction. The bottles, dozens and dozens of them, were discovered in July by divers exploring a sunken 19th century ship, and are expected to fetch up to $130,000 — each — at auction. Some lucky wine enthusiasts were even invited to taste the well-aged, miraculously well-preserved vintage. (Watch the unbottling of the champagne.) Here are some of the numbers behind this astonishing find:
The number of unopened bottles of champagne found in the shipwreck just south of Aaland, a Finnish archipelago in the Baltic Sea
Number of varieties of champagne discovered in the wreck. One is a Veuve Clicquot, and the other almost certainly a Juglar, a now-defunct champagne manufacturer.
Approximate year the champagne was bottled
Year the oldest previously known bottle of champagne was created
Year the world's oldest existing drinkable wine — a Rudesheimer Apostelwein, from Bremer Ratsfeller in Rheingau, Germany — was created
Year in which Veuve Clicquot was founded
Depth at which the sunken ship was discovered
The temperature, in degrees fahrenheit, of the water in which the bottles were discovered; experts say the temperature and pressure offered "perfect storage conditions"
Number of the 168 bottles that have been opened since the discovery
Number of wine experts invited to taste the two different kinds of champagne. Oenophiliacs identified the taste of "linden blossoms and lime peels" in the Veuve Clicquot, and "hues of chanterelles, honey, orange and peach" in the Juglar.
Amount of sugar in a standard bottle of champagne today
Amount of sugar in a bottle of Veuve Clicquot during the 1830s. Louise Nordstrom of the Associated Press says it tasted like a "sugary dessert wine."
Number of bottles to be preserved by the Finnish government as artifacts
$70,000 — $130,000
Amount each bottle is expected to fetch at auction. The proceeds will go to the Finnish region off which the shipwreck was found.
Cost of a bottle of Piper Heidsieck Monopole 1907, currently the world's most expensive champagne. Two thousand bottles were preserved from 1916 to 1997 in the hold of a sunken WWI ship, and regularly sell for five-figure sums at auction.