Although the shipwreck’s location might indicate the champagne bottles were on a trade route to the Russian Empire, their sugar levels suggest otherwise. Russians were known to consume champagne with sugar content higher than 300 grams per litre, Jeandet says, but the shipwrecked bottles had less than half that. That suggests they may have been intended for German markets, which favoured moderately sweet wines. By present standards, this would be exceedingly sweet: the most popular style today, brut, uses about 10 grams per litre.
April 21, 2015 at 9:00 AM EDT