Vintage 19th Century Champagne Discovered Underground in France
It’s not every day that you see a direct connection to the early 20th century, unearthed for the first time! For Pol Roger (a French Champagne house), this comes as a stark surprise; in early January the house discovered 1.5 million bottles and 500 casks of Champagne in a groundbreaking find.
Why would this much wine be buried, though? Apparently it was left within cellars in the town of Epernay at the beginning of the 1900s due to the wine cellars at the time collapsing. This was not the result of intention, but rather of a natural occurrence that took even the locals at the time by surprise.
Maurice Roger, the owner of the house (along with his brother George), noted on February 23rd, 1900, that in the early morning a distinct rumbling sound began to overtake the premises. This eventually lead to the cellars collapsing, making the family to presume that it was lost or damaged for good.
This sent the family and the community at large into turmoil, causing them to lose most (and in some cases all) of their supply, sending their fortunes and businesses into a realm of uncertainty. Though digging in an attempt to find the remaining Champagne may seem like a logical solution, at the time it was a more complicated dilemma and proved too difficult. As a result, the owners instead resorted to rebuilding their cellars in a new residence on Avenue de Champagne.
After the family moved on, it was largely thought that the bottles had been lost, abandoned forever. However, in early 2018 this perception changed when workers for Pol Roger discovered a cavity on the site of the original cellars. According to Pol Roger president Lauren d’Harcourt, “We found one bottle the first day, then five or six the next day,” eventually piling up until they realized they had made a major discovery. The wine appears to have not been affected by the disaster over 100 years ago and may have a new relevance in the 21st century.
The most delicious part of this story? Experts say the Champagne found by Pol Roger may very well be still drinkable with the producer expecting to find even more bottles! So, get ready, you may be having a sip of this vintage Champagne (fondly remembered as Winston Churchill’s favorite) in the not-so-distant future!
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