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Fuhrerwein : 4 grand a bottle....


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#1 Martin Bull

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 12:38 PM

A bottle of 'Fuhrerwein' ( complete with image of Hitler on the label ) was sold at auction in Plymouth, England yesterday for £3,995. The successful bid was entered by telephone from an anonymous bidder.

Auctioneer Paul Keen was quoted as saying :

'Not only is it unusual, it is extremely rare to find. It is the sort of thing that should appeal to collectors of Nazi wartime memorabilia. We understand that these bottles were given to Hitler's top-ranking officers on his birthday'.

The wine is so old as to be undrinkable.
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#2 Kai-Petri

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 01:34 PM

I could understand if the wine was drinkable but otherwise...not really...
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#3 Skipper

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 08:34 PM

A paradox, considering Hitler did not drink wine.
Don't worry, Leclerc took the good bottles back in 1945.
I wonder what sort of wine is inside (or should I say vinegar? )

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#4 Za Rodinu

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 10:53 AM

I wonder what sort of wine is inside (or should I say vinegar? )


Not vinegar, even acetic acid won't keep. Wine of that age may remain drinkable, depends a lot. Some castes of red wine (white does not keep) may survive and indeed improve for decades. You have to keep your wine bottles in a dark cellar with no moisture and at stable temperature (try a deep dungeon in a high place). The bottles themselves will have to be kept on the horizontal, tipping a bit towards the tip, and won't be touched except to be rotated a quarter of a turn every year, always in the same direction.

If the wine is not correctly kept, most likely it will turn into a colourless liquid tasting of nothing, as all the pigment and good things will have precipitated against the bottle walls and the alcohol degraded to something else useless.

Of course you you leave the bottle standing on a shelf and once in a while you pick it up and pass it on hand to hand to show it off, off course it won't survive.

Every Christmas in my family we open one bottle of at least 40 years, and sometimes it's fine, other times we're not so lucky and down the drain it goes. Once in a while I set aside a bottle or two for some special occasion in the future, I do have a cellar. I won't drink it but maybe my future son in law will.*



* If the guys turn out to be some sons of bitches I may decide otherwise ;)

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#5 Skipper

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 04:58 PM

Well Za, you got me impressed with that one. I have a cellar too with about 200 bottles. The oldest I have is a Yellow straw wine from the Jura that can be drunk after seven generations . It has four generations now. I also have a couple of Tokays that really go well with foie gras.
The germans got their good wines from France by imposing quotas. Each wine grower had to give a certain amount of wine. The Germans sent controlers to make sure th quotas and quality were respected, but most controlers, called "Weinfuhrers" by the French, were actually connaisseurs and francophile. They were in a very difficult position because it became a national sport to give them the worst wines (with nototious labels of course ) or to sabotage transports with wines. Stealing wine from the germans was very popular in 1940-41. It came quickly to an end when the Germans found out that their deliveries were often stolen or sabotaged and several famous wine growing families were deported, the workers emprisonned and the chateaux confiscated. Nevertheless 4 million bottles were saved by hiding them in secret cellars . This treasure allowed the wine growers to start their international business immediatley after the war. Many bottles were also recovered in Germany. The French got Hitler's collection (millions of bottles) , the Amercans got Goering's collection (10.000 bottles) and many other bottles were recovered, especially from the Luftwaffe cellars.
Luftwaffe pilots were true wine and Champagne lovers and many of them came back after the war (the most famous being Schnauffer who died in an accident in the Bordelais, shortly after while visiting wine growers)

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#6 Martin Bull

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 06:50 PM

By the type of bottle, I'd think that the 'Fuhrerwein' is most probably a German white such as a Mosel, etc. Probably not something which would 'keep' for sixty years and what collector would want to drink their investment anyway ? ;)
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#7 Skipper

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 06:58 PM

All right, that makes things clear. I can understand that Hitler would use a German wine to put his face on, rather than a foreign wine. Mosel wines are not supposed to be kept longer than six years, that's how long the war lasted.... For those who do not know these wines, the German Riesling type white wines are sweeter than the French equivalent in the Alsace, which are dryer. Both are fine wines but are supposed to be drunk about two or three years after the production minimum and five or six years maximum, otherwise the taste will be spoiled . Besides the corks are made to resist a couple of years only .

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#8 Erich

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 09:04 PM

Skipper you are so right. I opened a bottle of 97er Zeltinger Sonnenuhr the other day - Aüslese and the cork was so brittle and it broke half way down the bottle, so I had to dig it out and pour through cheese cloth to drink it. Even with the difficulty enhanced by this my wife and I enjoyed the wonderful sweet almost butter taste of this fine wein.

Speaking of der führer it was probably an obnoxious Rhine Tafelwein ..... crap.

give em the noose :flag_jolly:
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#9 Za Rodinu

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 10:13 AM

...cork was so brittle and it broke half way down the bottle...

Erich, how do you keep your wine? The bottle must be left lying down so the cork is moist at all times.

Of course this is no guarantee, as I've seen some crappy corks myself especially the cheaper ones made from cork agglomerate, but from principle never ever leave the bottle upstanding for a longer length of time. Good corks made from solid stock should last for evere if well kept.

Psst, my country exported some 150,000 tons of cork last year, so I should know a thing or two :D

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#10 Erich

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 07:52 PM

Za yes that is how I store my Deutsch Wein always on our Wein rack. when I bought the bottle from my wine shop it was vertical, how long he had it like this is anyones guess........I was a bit peeved to say the least as the small 375ml bottle was over 22.00 US. I must remember on these fine wines not to choose anything over 5 years of age in the Spät or Auslese tradition.

important point thank you for bringing it up
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#11 Erich

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 09:13 PM

I've actually almost have the bottle "knocked off" now at Lunch time ......... yummie ! Taste great, less filling
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#12 Skipper

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 09:50 PM

Something about corks. Table wines will of course have the crap quality corks. You will be lucky to get those out without desentegrating them, even before their time is over. Regular wines will get medium quality corks that will resist at least five or seven years, probably more, but the risk you get after those years is a cork impregnated tasting wine. If your cork is red on top before you even open it, it doesn't look good... To avoid this there is a high quality cork used for the big chateaux that can theoretically be kept for several decades. What many people do not know is that original bottles get new corks now and then (every few decades or so). Of course evaporation is another enemy and collectors hesitate changing corks, which would require two half empty bottles from the same wine to get one new one. This is besides heavily controlled and can not be done without official witnesses to avoid cheating by adding a diffrent wine. This is the only way very old wine can be preserved in a cellar. One solution for a short conservation could be the modern plastic cork which is quite popular in some countries. Young wine growers here are starting to think about this new cork, but the traditionnal wine growers are relunctant to use it.
Za's description was quite complete I would however add a proper ventilation system in a cellar (natural or artificial that would send air in through a hole at the bottom and then upwards.

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#13 Otto

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 10:01 PM

An image of the Hitler vintage...

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#14 Erich

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 10:20 PM

Skipper yes agreed ! my little wine rack is placed so in the east part of the home and is pretty much cool temperature controlled, protected from hot summer east sun by a big Sequoia tree. have never had a cracked cork like this one especially on a proper vintage but I think it was stored improperly to begin with before purchase :dynamite: a small gift to my wine merchant .........
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#15 Skipper

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 07:03 AM

Sequoiya tree, wow, you must have a nice garden. The best way to avoid cracked corks would be to buy young wines only so that you know where you store them. I had a couple of bad experiences with wines from supermarkests because of vertical storage, but also neon lights and temperatures, probably during a summertime transportation.
Otto, the picture is very interesting and confirms the Mosel/Rhein wine story. I read that this is a black Pinot table wine from 1943. I don't know if it was a good year, I don't think it was exceptionnal. Crops in the Mosel valley were often harvested by pows and by HitlerJugend volunteers. There was a lot of propaganda about "the blood of the earth" and the fertile faterland

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#16 Martin Bull

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 08:02 AM

So it was a boring old Tafelwein after all....:D
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#17 Za Rodinu

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 11:07 AM

Sequoiya tree, wow, you must have a nice garden. The best way to avoid cracked corks would be to buy young wines only so that you know where you store them. I had a couple of bad experiences with wines from supermarkests because of vertical storage, but also neon lights and temperatures, probably during a summertime transportation.


I agree.

I don't quite see the point with the ventilation unless it's to prevent mold attacking the cork though it's wax (yes, wax) covering. There's a tradition here that if you are offering an old wine bottle you have to present it covered in its original dust layer, cobbwebs and all :)

A sequoia in the garden? Magnificent. I can rate an orange tree at most ;)

$22 for a 375ml bottle? What the heck is a 375ml bottle? Where did you buy it, Toys R US? :D

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#18 Skipper

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 01:07 PM

Yes, ventilation is precisely to prevent humidity and a mold attacks, not only on the cork but also on the label. If they get covered with mold it can destroy the entire label and the wine may be impossible to identify. Mold will go to the cork too and through it it will affect the wine and destroy it. Most traditionnal cellars don't need artificial ventilation, but if your cellar is too humid , you might need this. Temperature should be between 12 and 14°celsius

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#19 Za Rodinu

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 04:18 PM

That's why I said some posts ago that the ideal cellar was a high place castle dungeon. High so it would be well above the water table, a dungeon so it will be deep and at a stable temperature.

As for destroying the label, you're quite right. "Long term" Port bottles have the year and other data painted in the bottle in white, as it is a given that the lable will not survive.

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#20 Erich

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 05:03 PM

I'm trying my best to put my meagre wine rack in a dark secluded spot but ........ nah the clothes closet is too close to the floor furnace.

Za yes some of the German Wein producers have made small quantities in the past, thus the small bottle, I guess the idea of picnicks must have encouraged their minds, walking through the vineyards on a steep slope overlooking the Rhine or Mosel sitting kicking back getting sunburned on a south facing slop with your babe'

yes I have a very small spot on this planet. the measurements of the property are roughly 50 x 100' with a 1600 square foot house taking most of the land. I probably have another 600 square feet added vertically as we has a new roof cantered up steeply from the old original flat-type disaster over 12 years ago. It does make the appearance look massive by the street. The Sequoia is a big boy now over 100' tall and even with the neighbors street trees- maples the Sequoia stands out like a green arrow for two blocks away. Sadly the tree roots are coming up through the lawn and on occasion get the top skin mowed off in the summer.

just ordered a wonderful Bernkasteler Kürfslay Spätlese 2005 yesterday :cheese:
hope it goes well with Cheeses ?
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#21 Skipper

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 05:49 PM

good Idea, I don't have that one but I will open an Alsatian Gewurstraminer instead. Have any of you been to the Mosel/Rhein/Baden area and travelled along the famous Wein roads up to Heidelberg?

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#22 Martin Bull

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 05:54 PM

WINE BUFF DECLARES VINTAGE

OK for Birthday Celebrations

'Will It Accompany Cheese?'


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#23 Erich

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 10:42 PM

wow Martin I see that wine really encompassed quite an auction of potential buyers ......:cool:

skipper ah an Alsatian wine with a bit of spice. the Gewurtz's kinda make my nose curl, I'm more an Aüslese kinda guy as well as my wife
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#24 Otto

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 04:50 PM

Peppy's latest contribution to the Smilie Depot:

:fuhrerwein:

I laughed my butt off when I saw it! :D Great work Peppy!

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#25 Erich

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 07:30 PM

well I know my smilie is not white wine but whatever ......... good one Peppy !:D

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