The vintage 1811 was exceptional in many European wine-growing regions and is considered to be the best of the past three centuries before. Among other things, the red wines of Château Lafite-Rothschild (then Château Lafite) and Château d'Yquem, on Riesling from the winery Bassermann-Jordan as well as generally Tokaj called. Wines of this vintage are also referred to as "Napoleon wine" because the emperor Napoleon (1769-1821) at that time reached the height of his fame. This year his son Napoleon II was born. A Château d'Yquem of this vintage was sold in 2011 for € 85,000 and is one of the most expensive wines in the world, The wines from the year were also called Wines of the century titled. Popularly became the name comet vintages marked as a comet discovered by Honoré Flaugergues (1755-1830) emerged, which ranked among the three largest ever sighted; his tail length was well over 100 million kilometers. The comet was said to have influence on the outstanding wine quality.
In Germany the musts had according to received records 80 to 85 ° Oechsle (16 to 17 ° KMW) and "were outweighed in gold". Here, the vintage was called "Penalty" (or "Eilfer"). He was also mentioned by Johann W. von Goethe (1749-1832) in his West-Eastern Divan with the verse: "In what wine, Alexander got drunk, I bet the last spark of life: He was not so good as mine" . At another point he rhymes: "Do not put me, you rude, the jug so rough in my face! Who brings me wine, look at me friendly, otherwise the Eilfer clouded in the glass ". Specifically, it was a Riesling from the single location Winkeler Hasensprung (Rheingau) of the winery Brentano (the areas are today in the possession of the winery Schloss Vollrads ).
In a received letter to the winery Bassermann-Jordan in Deidesheim-Pfalz from the year 1820 Goethe ordered an 1811er for a cure stay. It was a Forster plant Enormous (Rheingau). Probably this was not a sort Riesling, but at that time still widespread Mixed set from the varieties Riesling. Traminer and Orleans, The cause of extreme longevity will be the tannins the thick-skinned Orléansrebe awarded. The weather conditions in Germany were very favorable for a high quality wine this year. For a moderately cold winter was followed in February by the beginning of a dry and warm spring weather, which lasted until May. Summer, so to speak, began already in May and was followed by a warm and long autumn.
Other reasons are the then usual Whole cluster fermentation, a strong sulfurization, a long barrel aging, as well as the root authenticity called. Wines from the Pre-Phylloxera time (before the phylloxera) should have been much more extract rich. Two events testify longevity. In a letter from 1883, the Prussian Chancellor Otto Fürst thanked von Bismarck (1815-1898) at the winery Bassermann-Jordan for the sending of a Riesling from the position monster on the occasion of his birthday. And at a tasting in front of a select audience in 1999 (ie 186 years old), such a bottle was rated not only as edible, but as phenomenal. Incidentally, there are still stocks of 1811 in the basement of Bassermann-Jordan. The next year, 1812, yielded only minor wines, and in 1813 was extremely poor. Allegedly became after a frosty winter 1813/1814 the first Rheingauer Eiswein vinified.
There is a special story about five bottles Château Haut-Brion 1811. The US banker Henry Sturgis Morgan (1900-1982) visited the famous Parisian restaurant "Tour de l'Auberge" in 1931. The owner makes a special tour for him in the wine cellar of the house and showed him there his most precious rarity, namely the mentioned five bottles. Morgan wanted this vintages to acquire at any price, but the owner described them as unsalable. Shortly after Morgan's departure from Paris, the restaurant owner was shocked to find that two of the bottles were missing. In his place he found a letter from Morgan: "I'm sorry, I had to have your skin brion. Please fix the price, a blank check is included. " Thief was a bodyguard Morgans, a former gangster. The check is kept in the curiosity collection of the house, but the registered sum has never been circulated. See also below Records,