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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

The Question

What's the oldest wine in the world?

The Answer

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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.

E-mail your wine and spirits questions to Beppi Crosariol. Look for answers to select questions to appear in the Wine & Spirits newsletter and on The Globe and Mail website.

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About the Author
Life columnist

Beppi Crosariol writes about wine and spirits in the Globe Life and Style sections.He has been The Globe's wine and spirits columnist for more than 10 years. In the late 1990s, he also wrote a food trends column called The Biting Edge.Beppi used to cover business law for ROB and previously edited the paper's weekly technology section. More

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