If you haven’t tried a grape that has been matured for 1,700 years, you aren’t a true vintage aficionado.
In the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer, Germany, there is a bottle of wine that has not been opened and is thought to be around 1,700 years old. Even if its components appear dubious, on a microbiological level, it might not truly make you sick, even though the texture made you queasy.
In 1867, the Römische Wein von Speyer, also known as Speyer wine, was taken from a Roman tomb. The fact that the bottle was sealed with wax rather than a cork, which would have long since rotted away and let the “wine” inside escape as it did, is in part responsible for the bottle’s success in holding onto its liquid contents.
We refer to the liquid as “wine” even though, after roughly 1,700 years, it will probably have completely lost all of its alcoholic properties and transformed into a whole other grapey creature. However, no one has yet been able to determine with certainty what the bottle presently contains since, quite frankly, no one wants to open it.
The hesitancy over opening the Speyer wine isn’t just because there’s a chance of releasing a wine-drinking genie; it’s also because specialists are unsure if the beverage would endure the trauma.
Ludger Tekampe, head of the division in charge of keeping the wine, told The Local, “It’s unclear what would happen if air gets into the wine.” Despite the bottle’s great age, “the content is very stable,” claims Tekampe.
This bottle’s contents have definitely been preserved by a thick covering of olive oil, which appears to be the source of more liquid than genuine wine. You can always count on the Romans to add an excessive amount of thick, buttery olive oil to wine’s indulgence.
According to Atlas Explorer, the elaborate 1.5-liter bottle with dolphin-inspired handles is said to have been made around 325 CE. It was found next to numerous broken wine bottles that were also used as burial accessories and were kept inside a Roman tomb.
The fascinating thing about the Speyer wine is that as far as pathogens go, it might really be safe to drink, so if you’re the kind that craves for the forbidden things (anyone for a shot of 2-billion-year-old water? ), that’s probably going to appeal to you.
Professor Monkia Christmann told Futurism that although it is likely not spoiled microbiologically, it would not be pleasing to the palate.
Wine can benefit from aging because, although being a perishable liquid, allowing its sugars, acids, and tannins to somewhat cook inside the bottle can improve the mouthfeel and scent. However, suffice it to say that 1,700 years is certainly pushing it for even the most experienced winegrowers. Everything from the grape variety to the winemaking technique can influence how successful aging may be in enhancing the drinking experience of particular wines.