Priceless oldest Veuve Clicquot found in sideboard
The oldest existing 1893 bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne has been found in a sideboard in a Scottish castle.29 July 2008
LONDON - The "priceless" oldest existing bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne, dating back more than a century, was found in a sideboard in a Scottish castle, the estate said Monday.
Owner Chris James found the 1893 bottle at Torosay Castle on the Isle of Mull, off the western Scottish mainland. It is believed to have been hidden away for more than a century.
Veuve Clicquot now has the bottle on display at its visitor centre in Reims, northeastern France - the heart of champagne country.
The castle was built in 1858 for a wealthy Glaswegian and sold in 1865 to merchant banker Arbuthnot Guthrie. He died in 1897, leaving the castle to his nephew and the contents to his widow.
When she cleared out the castle, she took everything inside - apart from the dining room sideboard, which was too heavy.
Cutlery was stored behind three of its doors, but the fourth had always been locked.
Curiosity got the better of James, who employed a specialist locksmith to cut a key for the solid wooden cabinet. When the dusty cupboard was opened, he found a bottle of claret, a port decanter, a bottle of brandy and the Veuve Cliquot with the trademark yellow label.
The champagne was in mint condition as it had been stored in the dark.
Veuve Clicquot had no idea when they first used their trademark yellow labels, but the "Torosay bottle" was the oldest by a long margin.
"I really had no idea what to expect when the cupboard door was finally opened," James said.
"I'm genuinely delighted that part of Torosay's 150-year-old history has turned out to be so important and the bottle is now on display in its rightful home."
Fabienne Huttaux, head of communications at Veuve Clicquot, said they were "very proud" to have the bottle on display at their visitor centre.
"It was amazing to find this bottle and it's really an extraordinary story all in all," she said.
"It is such an important part of the history of Veuve Clicquot. We are very grateful to Chris James for letting us have the oldest bottle with our famous yellow label."
"The bottle is literally priceless. It is a one off and therefore unique," she said, according to the BBC.
[AFP / Expatica]