A bottle of Heidsieck & Co Monopole 1907 Goût Américan Champagne that spent more than 80 years at the bottom of the Baltic Sea after the ship in which it was being carried was sunk by a German U-boat in World War I, is to be sold at Bonhams Fine Wine sale in London on 14 April. Estimated at £1,000-1,500, it is part of an exciting collection of Champagne, built up over many years by a Scandinavian collector.
The bottle was among a consignment of Champagne, Cognac, wine and, crucially, steel carried by The Jönköping, a small Swedish schooner. On a voyage from Sweden to Finland at the beginning of November 1916 it was detained by a U-boat whose captain ordered the crew off the ship and then sank it to prevent the steel falling into the hands of the Allies.
The salvage operation took place in July 1998 and about 2,000 bottles of the champagne were recovered. The wine is still sparkling and has been described by experts as in very good condition, having been stored at a constant temperature of 4 C in darkness for so many years.
Most of the leading Champagne houses are represented in the collection including a wide range of vintages and formats of Bollinger La Grande Année – among which are six bottles of the 2002 limited edition James Bond 007 (£480-600 for 6), Grande Année Rosé, R.D. and two bottles of 1988 Vieilles Vignes Françaises, Blanc de Noirs (£600-700 each).
A major feature of the collection is the extensive range both in bottle and magnum of Louis Roederer Cristal Brut and Rosé, vintages 1976 to 2006. Other famous houses such as Moët & Chandon Dom Perignon – both Brut & Rosé, Krug, Pol Roger, Perrier-Jouët, Pol Roger, Ruinart, Taittinger – Artists Collection and Comtes de Champagne and Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame are also represented in strength.
Louis Roederer Cristal Brut and Rosé, vintages 1976-2006, will also be offered at the Bonhams fine wine sale on 14th April
The Head of Bonhams Wine Department and Master of Wine, Richard Harvey said, “It’s very exciting to be able to offer such a prestigious collection of champagne which has a breadth and depth that I have rarely seen. Many of the wines seldom appear at auction – for example Billecart-Salmon, Cuvee Nicolas François Billecart, vintages 1985 to 1998, Cuvée William Deutz, Philiponnat Clos de Goisses and many smaller growers. Among the gems on offer I’d include such rarities as a magnum of Veuve Clicquot 1952 (£400-480) and a bottle of Pol Roger 1953 (£300-400) as well as wide selection of cuvées from Jacques Selosse which have more recently come to prominence.”