Swimming with sharks: 1907 Heidsieck Monopole at €4,125… or €80,000?

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Swimming with sharks: 1907 Heidsieck Monopole at €4,125… or €80,000?

Recently I was contacted by a friend of a friend with an intriguing offer of some very old “shipwreck wines”.

The first of three offers was for a bottle of 1907 Heidsieck Monopole Goût Américain, recovered from the wreck of the Jönköping in the Gulf of Finland in 1997.

Jönköping was sunk by a U-Boat in 1916. She was apparently carrying over 4,000 bottles of champagne.

1907 Heidsieck Monopole Goût Américain.png

Asking price: €80,000.

I pointed out to the friend of a friend that two bottles of this are currently available from European suppliers at €4,125 and €5,000 respectively and that €80,000 was perhaps a bit ambitious.

The second offer was for a bottle of wine “believed to have come from a vessel called HMS Gloucester and sank (sic) in around 1682 after running aground… While the identification of the sunken ship is in progress (sic), two of the bottles were transported to the Technical University of Munich for laboratory analysis for quality and possible use/drink (sic)… Bottled and created for royalty this wine is still drinkable but there are only 8 bottles left in the world.”

Shipwreck wine.png

Hmmm…

Upon closer examination, the “HMS Gloucester bottle” appeared to be the same as one of two bottles offered at auction in June 2019 (which were both unsold.)

Those two bottles were recovered from a wreck off the coast of Germany.
The bottle here looks like one of those; indeed, it’s the same photo that was used by the salvagers to publicise their work.

It clearly isn’t a bottle from HMS Gloucester, which sank off the coast of Norfolk.

Furthermore, the friend of a friend’s document said: “In 2018 an empty bottle, similar in form and time of manufacture, was sold at auction for £21,000.”

I think that I would have been aware of an empty bottle of wine selling for £21,000. I can find no record of it.

And £21,000 for an empty bottle…?

Lucky me that “This wine is currently only offered to private collections and connoisseurs of vintage wine. Selling price: Offers in the region of 70,000 Euros”. 😒

By the time that I got to the third offer of “unique cognac and liquor” salvaged from the wreck of a ship that sank in May 2017 in the Baltic, and now being marketed at “Offers in the region of 75,000 Euros” – well, I felt like jumping into the River Thames. (Not that I ever would – I can barely swim.)

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My conclusion is: If you’re swimming in the ocean, beware of sharks…

Wishing you a bon weekend

Stuart George | Founder & MD |WINNER OF THE SCUDERIA FERRARI WINE AWARD 2019 

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