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Austrian hotel has world's best wine list

Paul Gillingwater · 16 Jul 2014, 11:18

Published: 16 Jul 2014 11:18 GMT+02:00

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The hotel hosted the recent summit between US Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran's foreign minister and various European colleagues. 

While the discussions over the negotiating table may have been tense, participants would have had at their fingertips the most impressive selection of wines in the world.

The World of Fine Wine magazine editor Neil Beckett assembled an international panel of expert judges, who then worked through the wine lists of 750 restaurants, awarding them one, two or three stars.  Only 225 wine lists made it into the three-star category.

A range of certificates were then awarded, including Best Overall Wine List, Best Champagne and Sparkling Wine List, Best Dessert and Fortified Wine List, and so on.  After extensive analysis, the clear winner was Austria's Palais Coburg hotel.

Its list represented an unparalleled selection, acquired over many years by the Viennese luxury five-star hotel.  It was described by senior judge and contributing editor Andre Jefford as "almost dauntingly complete, completely eye-boggling and jaw-dropping."

“The cellars must go on for miles,” Jefford continued. “The Austrian speciality is comprehensive even beyond the dreams of retail, and how many global restaurants could compete with this one for verticals of classics? As a big gun list, I don’t see that this can be beaten.”

In fact, Palais Coburg has six cellars, some of which date back to the 16th century, each with the perfect climate for storing wine.  

It boasts more than 60,000 bottles spanning four centuries. The cellars include the France Cellar, the Old World Cellar, the New World Cellar, the Rare Wine Cellar, the Yquem Cellar and the Champagne Cellar.

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A stunning feature of the French cellar must be the  double magnum 1865 Château Lafite-Rothschild, last auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York on May 20th 2006.

An excerpt from Robert Parker’s tasting records in 1995 reads: “It is unimaginable that a wine produced 130 years ago can still taste so extraordinary, yet I was there - I saw it, smelled it, and drank it. Unreal!” 

The rarities cellar houses what Christie’s head sommelier Michael Broadbent, Master of Wine, considers the oldest wine that is still drinkable, the 1727 Rüdesheimer Apostelwein from the Ratskeller in Bremen. 
Naturally, wines of this calibre don't come cheap.  A double magnum 1999 Sine Qua Non The Marouder, Syrah will set you back a mere €11,000 (US$15,000).  Or if you're feeling flush, you could sample the Grand Cru 1996 La Mondotte Melchior (18 litres) for €31,200 (US$42,000).
It might take some time to read through all 138 pages of the wine list, so a simpler option may be to place yourself in the hands of the hotel's master sommeliers, give a budget and describe your tastes, and they are certain to find a suitable wine for each palate.
And if you do make it to the Silvio Nickol Gourmet Restaurant (with its two Michelin stars, naturellement), make sure to try some of the excellent Austrian wines, as you soak up the ambience in this queen of old-world cities.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Paul Gillingwater (paul.gillingwater@thelocal.com)

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