Speyer Wine: For Display Purposes Only

Dating from the time of Emperor Constantine, this amphora-shaped bottle found in a grave in Speyer, in Germany, is thought to be the oldest bottle discovered still containing wine. Despite becoming a scientific curiosity, the Roman legionary’s wine has aged rather badly. The lively debate that has sprung up among the community of researchers and the curious has remained the same: should this wax-sealed archaeological relic be opened in order to analyse its contents? Whether or not it is drinkable is another matter, but we can always hope that it will have a lingering aftertaste. France has the world’s oldest barrel-stored wine: the historic cellar of the Strasbourg Hospices holds a barrel dated 1472 whose wine is still drinkable. The last one “for the road” was  drunk in 1944, by the famous General Leclerc, as he freed Strasbourg and there celebrated his no-less-famous “Kufra oath”.




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