Many great wines get better with age. But researchers just took that idea to the extreme after unearthing some 170-year-old bottles of Champagne.
Remarkably, the bottles found at the bottom of the ocean are from names you might still recognize today: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Heidsieck and Juglar. The researchers, led by Philippe Jeandet, a professor at the Faculty of Science at the University of Reims in the Champagne region of France, cracked open three of the bottles for chemical analysis and, yes, tasting.
Chemical analysis highlighted many of the differences in production between the 19th century and today. For one, the bottles contained three times more sugar than modern Champagne, which researchers said was to be expected, as 19th century drinkers preferred sweeter wines. The Champagne was also lower in alcohol, at just 9 percent—modern Champagne comes in at over 12 percent. One unexpected discovery was a high level of iron and copper attributed to the way vines used to be protected and the type of barrels that were used during fermentation.