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  • Country ranking ?

    23
  • Producer ranking ?

    1
  • Decanting time

    30min
  • When to drink

    now
  • Food Pairing

    enjoy without food

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World’s Oldest Bottle of Wine  By Matt Long

On a visit to the Bahamas, which was orchestrated by Bahamas Tourism, I had the opportunity to stay in one of the most unique hotels in the world, the Graycliff in Nassau. The history in this old school hotel is palpable, but never more so than when you tour the hotel’s wine cellar.

A sommelier’s dream come true, the Graycliff collection is practically without rival, exemplified by the fact that they own the most expensive bottle of wine in the world.

The bottle in question, a 1727 Rudesheimer Apostelwein from Bremen Ratskeller in the Rheingau region of Germany is priced at $200,000 and is one of the most rare wines in the world. In case you were wondering, it is still drinkable because of the high sugar content.

The Graycliff is a feast for all the senses and their attention to fine wine and dining is what sets them apart from more “mainstream” properties.

 

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The Story

The remarkable Bremer Ratskeller was founded almost six centuries ago and is still owned by the town of Bremen in Northern Germany. In the famous Schatzkammer (treasury cellar) are housed a fabulous collection of rare old German wines going back to the 17th century.

The Apostel Wein 1727 comes from 12 barrels of wines of vintages 1683, 1717 and 1727 which were reduced in number, one by one, due to the evaporation. So contrarily to the technique of solera, there was no addition of new vintages. When only one barrel remained, the wine was bottled in the 1960's. 

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Wine Information

 

Here are Michael Broadbent's notes on this wine: This wine comes from a large cask in the famous ’12 apostles’ cellar beneath the Town Hall or Ratskeller  in Bremen. The first time this appeared in a Christie’s wine catalogue was in 1829 when it sold for  5 pounds per dozen, a high price at the time. An occasional half bottle has appeared at auction since that date, mainly over the past 30 years. The wine is drawn from the mother cask which is then topped up with a young Rudesheimer of appropriate quality. In this way the large volume of the old wine is kept refreshed. I first tasted the 1727 at Schloss Vollrads in 1973 at a tasting of wines of the world to celebrate Count Matushka’s 80th birthday. Another memorable occasion took place at a dinner in Sydney on the evening of my first visit to Australia in February 1977. By way of welcome, my host, the

Some previously sold bottles of German wines:

irrepressible Len Evans had invited the Prime Minister and a group of the best ‘palates’. Among other fine and rare wines was
this 250 year old Hock. Just as it was about to be served, there was a shattering crash followed by an agonized Australian voice
‘Gee Len, sorry we’ll just have to have the 1928’! (The ‘waiter’ Anders Ousbach, who had dropped a handful of spoons, was a
wine expert and opera singer known for his practical jokes).

On my second visit to Bremen in 1981, I was able to taste the wine from the cask. It had an amber straw colour, the smell of old
apples and a nutty appley taste. Dry, good length. High acidity. More recently, from a half bottle ‘Réserve du Bremer
Ratskeller’: it was paler than I had previously noted, Secial Madeira-like colour, bouquet also reminded me of an old Madeira,
then more like a raya sherry. After 2 hours in the glass a smell of rich old stables and an hour after that, an amazing pungency
lingered in the empty glass. On the palate medium-dry, lightish weight, a soft, gentler, slightly toasted old straw flavor,
tolerable acidity,and clean finish.  *****

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Average Bottle Price

2018 2016 2015 2013
4 122€ +25.0% 3 297€ +12.0% 2 944€ +28.6% 2 289€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

12 tasting notes

Tasting note

ending

Medium

nose

Refined

recommend

Yes

taste

Elegant

Written Notes

1727 Rüdesheimer Apostelwein, Bremer Ratskeller A special vintage: the english scientist Isaac Newton dies aged 84, the composer Johann Sebastian Bach presents his “Matthäus-Passion”. In Italy, the artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo is born. The Rheingau sees an exceptional harvest and some of the wines are shipped to Bremen. Some casks have been stored at the so called “12 apostles cellar” beneath the Town Hall of Bremen, where a collection of very rare and fine wines has always been kept for members of the towns council. Lucky they were! The wines were always sought after, which is proven by a Christie’s wine catalogue from 1829, where a dozen of bottles of the 1727 were sold for 5 pounds, an enormous sum at that time. Since then, different bottlings have been made and the tasting in February 2012 organized in Bochum by Uwe Bende has presented a half bottle, which was bottled in the sixties. The wine originates from the so called Judas cask and is arguably the oldest, still drinkable wine worldwide. The grape variety of this wine is unknown. At the time being, the vineyards where planted in mixed plantations. However it is an extraordinary experience to taste a wine which is amongst the oldest bottles still existing. Two other old rarities are a bottle of 1540 which lies in the cellars of the Bürgerspital Würzburg and a cask of 1653 Rüdesheimer, which is still ageing in the Rose cellar of the town hall of Bremen. However, both of these rarities are not accessible for tastings and will never be sold. With a bit of luck you may still find some 1727 on the market. There is some stock at the Ratskeller in Bremen for example. Christie’s sold a half bottle of the 1727 in 2000. The wine, which was presented by Uwe Bende on February 18, 2012, came directly from the Ratskeller and was in absolute pristine conditions. The wine showed very well with dark amber colour. In the nose there were still traces of fruit, dried apricots and discreet tones of coffee. A moment later the aromas change towards flowery tones, vanilla and balmy components. In the background spices, lovage, dried pineapple, English fruit cake. Later a fine touch of sherry and hazelnuts, marzipan and caramelized walnuts, apricot stones. On the palate this exceptional bottles displays a creamy texture, fine acidity, a touch of sweetness and a surprising freshness. A great tasting experience of an impressing wine, wine which in a blind tasting would never be judged to be 284 years old.
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Information

Origin

Bremen, Germany

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Very Good

Fake factory

Serious

Glass time

20min

Drinking temperature

9

Inside Information

1727 Rüdesheimer Apostelwein – Bremer Rathskeller bt Markus del Monego MW

1727, Johann Sebastian Bach presents the oratorio „Matthäus Passion“, Georg Friedrich Händel composes the Coronation Anthems for King George III, the Italian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo is born, the scientist Isaac Newton dies aged 84 and the Rheingau vintners harvest an exceptional vintage. The vintage 1727 features wines of great fame which were very much in demand. Therefore the city council of Bremen decided to cellar a barrel of this extraordinary vintage beneath the Town Hall of Bremen. The so called „12 Apostels cellar“ became the home of this rarity, already sought after in the 19th century: The London based auctioneer Christie’s presented a dozen of bottles of the 1727 in his wine catalogue from 1829. The bottles were sold for 5 pounds, a fortune in the early nineteenth century. The last half bottle sold at Christie’s was in 2008, when the wine was sold for more than 6000€.

 

During the ageing process in the cellars at Bremen, different bottlings have been made. The half bottle which was presented on October 6, 2017 has been bottled in the sixties, it was the last bottling. The wine originates from the so called Judas cask and is arguably the oldest, still drinkable wine worldwide. The grape variety of this wine is unknown. At the time being, the vineyards where planted in mixed plantations. It is thought that White Orleans could be the main grape variety, Riesling might have played a minor role in the blend.

 

Ten tasters gathered on October 6 in a cellar at Essen and were anxiously waiting to taste the wine. Tasting such a rare bottles is a special experience. Only two wines are known with an older age: the last bottle of 1540 Stein from Würzburg which is kept in the cellars of the Bürgerspital Würzburg and a cask of 1653 Rüdesheimer, which is still ageing in the Rose cellar of the town hall of Bremen. However, both of these rarities are not accessible for tastings and not on sale. Expectations were high and –to make long story short- were absolutely fulfilled. The 1727 was shipped from the Bremer Ratskeller two weeks before the tasting day and opened one hour before service. It showed an amber colour with a slight copper coloured hue. The nose was very expressive displaying an aroma reminiscent of oranges, candied orange peel and bitter almonds at the beginning. After a quarter of an hour the aroma of candied orange peel intensified and was complemented with hints of dried fruits, mainly apricots. Another ten minutes later the nose turned towards a quite spicy expression with aroma reminiscent of cinnamon and nutmeg blossoms. The fruit still developed positively remaining on dried apricots and hints of candied orange peel. After more than half an hour hints of walnuts showed up. Half an hour later the first hints of flowery and blossoms were turning up: white lilies, honey and white blossoms. It was interesting to see, how the different aromatic components showed up, intensified than faded and some of them were coming back on a regular rhythm, especially the aroma reminiscent of English fruit cake, balmy spices and roasting notes. After three hours in the glass the aroma reminiscent of walnuts, caramel, raisins and butterscotch intensified. Interestingly the nose kept hints of dried fruits for over six hours in the glass. The palate was exceptional from the beginning, displaying a creamy texture, fine acidity and a hint of sweetness. A wine with 290 years of age with surprising freshness. Even after six hours in the glass, the wine showed a mild character with hints of candied lemon peel. When the glasses were finally emptied more than six hours after service, they kept displaying an intense aroma of sherry, walnuts, dried pineapple and candied orange peel. A unique experience.

It was my second bottle of this wine. The first time I had the pleasure to taste it over five years ago. Comparing the tasting notes from that time, there were a lot of parallels, however this bottle was even more perfect.

Rating: 100/100

 

 

This wine comes from a large cask in the famous 12 Apostles' cellar beneath the Town Hall or Ratskeller in Bremen. The first time this appeared in a Christie's wine catalogue was in 1829 when it sold for 5 pounds a dozen, a high price at the time. An occasional half bottle has appeared at auction since that date, mainly over the past 30 years. The wine is drawn from the mother cask, which is then topped up with a young Rüdesheimer of appropriate quality. In this way the large volume of the old wine is kept refreshed. I first tasted the 1727 at Schloss Vollrads in 1973 at a tasting of wines of the world to celebrate Count Matuschka's 80th birthday
Another memorable occasion took place at a dinner in Sydney on the evening of my first visit to Australia in February 1977. By way of welcome, my host, the irrepressible Len Evans, had invited the Prime Minister and a group of the best 'palates'. Among other fine and rare wines was this 250 year old Hock. Just as it was about to be served, there was a shattering crash followed by an agonised Australian voice ' Gee Len, sorry; we'll just have to have the 1728'! (The 'waiter', Anders Ousbach, who had dropped a handful of spoons, was a wine expert and opera singer known for his practical jokes.)

On my second visit to Bremen in 1981, I was able to taste the wine from the cask. It had an amber straw colour, the smell of old apples and a nutty, appley taste. Dry. Good length. High acidity. More recently, from a half bottle 'Réserve du Bremer Ratskeller': it was paler than I had previously noted. Sercial madeira-like colour; bouquet reminded me of an old madeira, then more like a raya sherry. After two hours in the glass, a smell of rich old stables and an hour after that, an amazing pungency lingered in the empty glass. On the palate medium-dry, lightish weight, a soft, gentler, slightly toasted old straw flavour, tolerable acidity, and clean finish. Last noted at a dinner to mark the publication of the German edition of my Great Vintage Wine Book in Zürich, Oct 1983 ** for pleasure, ***** for interest. Michael Broadbent, Vintage Wine

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