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Aging bottles in the cellars of Bouchard Père et Fils, in Beaune, France – not the world’s oldest bottles by a long shot. (Ed Alcock/NYT)
Aging bottles in the cellars of Bouchard Père et Fils, in Beaune, France – not the world’s oldest bottles by a long shot. (Ed Alcock/NYT)

What’s the oldest wine in the world? Add to ...

The Question

What’s the oldest wine in the world?

The Answer

A restaurant once served me a stale muscadet that could almost qualify, but I digress.

I assume you mean the oldest unopened bottle of wine. The answer to that appears to rest in a museum in Germany. The Pfalz Historical Museum in Speyer boasts a bottle that was buried in a grave some time around 350 AD, which makes it roughly 1,660 years old. You can glimpse a picture at museum.speyer.de. It looks ghastly, with a coagulated, cloudy residue that could be mistaken for a submerged sourdough-yeast starter. Or a horror-movie blob that threatens to grow up and devour Saskatoon. A dash of protective olive oil and a wax seal protected the liquid from evaporating out of the neck. The wine is white and, by expert accounts, likely not something you’d want to enjoy with tonight’s chicken fingers and Tater Tots. Though I do hear 350 AD was a good year.

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