In a London auction on June 5 and 6, 2019, Christie’s is to offer its “oldest ever” bottles of wine. The pair of extraordinary 17th-century bottles are expected to fetch between $32,942 and $38,010.
The bottles were discovered in a shipwreck in 2010, during an ocean floor survey mission off the German coast. Deep within the wreck, at a depth of 40 meters, divers discovered an old wicker basket containing 14 ancient bottles.
One of the bottles broke during the recovery and another was later opened and tested. The shape of the bottles and an analysis of the wine and cork put their age between 1670 and 1690. The laboratory results revealed that the liquid inside had once been a “powerful” red wine.
“Phenolic analysis confirmed a typical old wine signature rich in tannin degradation products, and together with the presence of resveratrol, enables us to tell it was a strong red wine,” Professor Gougeon of the University of Burgundy wrote in March 2016.
Interestingly, the wine still contained a small amount of alcohol but owing to the fact it wasn’t a fortified wine, Christie’s describes its drinkability as “questionable.”
The lucky bidder will receive the bottles in specially designed water-filled storage tanks, which help maintain their condition. The bottles will also come with a certificate from the owners who recovered the wine.
In an online listing for the lot, the auction house notes: “This should be approached as a lot of historical and vinous importance.”