A treasure trove of long-buried Pol Roger Champagne rediscovered

1.5 million bottles of Champagne, gone for more than a century, may not be so lost after all.

By Natasha Lee And Angela M.h. Schuster 26/04/2018

A treasure trove of Pol Roger champagne, thought to be lost forever in a cellar collapse, have been discovered. 500 casks of wine and 1.5 million bottles of the Champagne were lost in the collapse, which nearly wiped out the entire Pol Roger enterprise. The incident occurred back in 1990 after spell of cold, damp weather caused a sinkhole to form in the caves where the bottles had been stores. Nothing was salvaged from the catastrophe until this past January, when the collapsed cellars were being industrially excavated ahead of the planned construction of a new packing facility. Outgoing chef de cave Dominique Petit and his successor, Damien Cambres, saw a large void at the site filled with broken glass and a single bottle of Champagne. Over the next two days, 25 more surviving bottles of bubbly — corked between 1887 and 1898 —came to light. CEO of Chamagne Pol Roger Laurent d’Harcourt says the family are 'very excited'. "The wines appear to be quite clear, despite being buried for more than a century, and we are convinced they may still be drinkable," he said. For the moment the search for more has been halted to enable sitework specialists to confirm that the ground is stable enough for further tunnelling. As for the fate of the bottles found thus far? "We plan to enjoy them with friends, family, and fellow oenophiles later this spring. These bottles have been waiting for 118 years, so they can wait a few months more," d'Harcourt says, noting that before the Champagne can be enjoyed, it must be riddled to remove any sediment. Once it is poured, a select few will have the privilege of discovering just how it compares to Champagnes of similar age, which have been carefully curated in the Pol Roger cellars.
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