The old adage “wine gets better with age” should be followed up with a “but only if…” to clarify the real rules of aging wine, so people who buy into the adage don’t go looking for ancient bottles of wine to open.
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Apparently you can drink a properly aged bottle of wine over 200 years after it has been bottled, but as Josh Jones of Open Culture shows us the world’s oldest bottle of wine (circa 350 AD) definitely isn’t drinkable:
A 1.5 liter “glass vessel with amphora-like sturdy shoulders” in the shape of dolphins, the bottle is of no use to its owner, but no one is certain what would happen to the liquid if it were exposed to air, so it stays sealed, its thick stopper of wax and olive oil maintaining an impressively hermetic environment. Scientists can only speculate that the liquid inside has probably lost most of its ethanol content. But the bottle still contains a good amount of wine, “diluted with a mix of various herbs.”
The Römerwein resides at the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer, which seems like an incredibly fascinating place if you happen to be passing through. You won’t get to taste ancient Roman wine there, but you may, perhaps, if you travel to the University of Catania in Sicily where in 2013, scientists recreated ancient wine-making techniques, set up a vineyard, and followed the old ways to the letter, using wooden tools and strips of cane to tie their vines.
-Via Boing Boing