In 1900 disaster struck the Champagne producing operation of Pol Roger in Épernay. Buildings and cellars collapsed after cold and damp weather had deteriorated their stability, burying 1.5 million bottles and 500 casks of wine. Now, Champagne Pol Roger, the company bearing the founder’s name, is excavating the site of the cave in order to build new facilities. During the excavations, bottles of Champagne from between 1887 and 1898 were found, and there’s hope they could be drinkable. Laura Seal explains at Decanter.com:
On 15 January, a drilling session hit upon an underground chamber, which contained a cache of broken glass and an intact bottle of Champagne.
After further excavation, 19 more bottles were lifted unscathed from the wreckage.
‘The wines are clear, the levels are correct and the corks are depressed,’ said the Champagne house.
‘These bottles are still on their lees and will have to be hand riddled and disgorged before being tasted.’
The exact age of the bottles is hard to determine, but Pol Roger has confirmed they will be of vintages between 1887 and 1898.
The discovery was made by Dominic Petit, Pol Roger’s chef de cave of 19 years, and the man who will succeed him in April, Damien Cambres.
Wet weather has prevented Petit and Cambres from unearthing more of the cellars’ contents so far.
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