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world's oldest champagne bottled in 1825

One tasted white truffles, another gingerbread. But the esteemed wine critics that gathered to taste the world's oldest Champagne were at least agreed on one thing: that they were enjoying the opportunity of a lifetime.

12 of the wine industry's top tasters had been given the rare chance to give their verdict on the world's oldest bottle of Champagne.

Only two bottles now remain of the Perrier-Jouët 1825 Vintage, recognised by The Guinness Book of Records as the oldest remaining Champagne in the world.
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The world's oldest champagne, bottled in 1825

The tasters, which included Serena Sutcliffe, Head of the International Wine Department at Sotheby's, and Michel Bettane, France’s most celebrated wine critic, also sampled 20 other vintages from the Champagne house - though the 184-year-old vintage was undoubtedly the highlight.

'It is virtually impossible to assign a value to the 1825 vintage - we've never seen anything like it on the market,' said Ms Sutcliffe, who co-hosted the event. 'This was, quite simply, the opportunity of a lifetime tasting such exceptional, historic vintages.'

The occasion, to celebrate the launch of the Champagne house's first vintage of the 21st century, has been coined 'liquid history'.

The privileged group is said to have applauded as the Cellar Master Hervé Deschamps removed the cork from the bottle.

'It was very stressful,' he said. 'I was worried that the cork would break because it had never been changed. And I was afraid the Champagne would be undrinkable. But luckily, it was drinkable.'

In fact, it was more than drinkable. Mr Bettane deemed the Champagne 'unbelievable'.
'There were flavours of mushrooms, woods and a bit of honey,' he said.

In turn, Bernard Burtschy, wine critic for French newspaper Le Figaro tasted notes of gingerbread, lemon confit, 'and of the dead leaves which are the grey hairs of a wine which has aged,' he added.

Meanwhile Olivier Cavil, Director of Communications at Perrier-Jouët tasted white truffles and chocolate. 'Although there was only a hint of bubbles left it was perfectly fresh, the colour was fine and it resembled a very great chablis.'

The difference in opinions did not surprise Mr Cavil however. 'It is very difficult to be objective when you are submerged in emotions and this was a very emotional occasion indeed,' he said.

When the historic Champagne was bottled, George IV was on the British throne. The last King of France, Charles X, was crowned in 1825 at Reims Cathedral.

Fizz: Some of the ancient vintages on offer at the historic tasting



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