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Vintage discovery: World’s oldest wine tasting note unearthed in China

Posted on | April 1, 2013 | 1 Comment

By Jim Boyce

As yet another example of how everything seems to originate in China, an amateur archaeologist in the central province of Sichuan has unearthed the world’s oldest wine tasting note, states academic journal People’s Historical Review (PHR).

According to PHR, Lao Lai discovered the tasting note sealed in a clay jar buried two meters below ground.

“The texture of the paper, its degree of decay and the other antiquities dug up in the area all testify to its age,” says Lao, who estimates the note to be approximately 5000 years old.

The note is part of a dispatch from an anonymous wealthy customer to a wine-maker named Jiu Buhao.

It starts cordially: “I have with great joy tried your newest creation, master wine-maker Jiu, and found the fruit ample, the body unctuous and with both “arms and legs”, and the finish long and lingering like that of the most exquisite peppercorn.”

The customer was less enthusiastic about the smell, states PHR.

“I apologize for raising this sensitive issue, but as a long-term customer, I feel it is in your interest and mine to speak the truth,” says the note. “I find this wine’s aroma ever-so-slightly off. I sense a scrape of damp twig. A bit musty, a touch dirty. I dare say it smells like your mom“. [Yikes! - Ed.]

A delighted Lao is quoted as saying that not only has he found the oldest wine tasting note but also an early example of “dissing” someone’s mother.

“Such language was not usual, if made in jest, five thousand years ago,” scholar Fu Aipu of Beijing University is quoted as saying. “I’m certain the customer never actually smelled Jiu’s mother.”

Of much more serious concern, said Fu, are the physical attributes of the tasting note.

“Even to the untrained eye, this appears to be written with a common ballpoint pen.”

Due to other academics raising the same issue, Lao has since released a statement: “I forgot to mention, I found a five-thousand-year-old pen beside the note.”

And if you haven’t guessed already, the English name of Fu Aipu or Aipu Fu is APRIL FOOL

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Note: Issue 2 of Grape Wall’s free e-newsletter GWoC Talk is out. Sign up here here, see a sample here. You can also follow me on Weibo here and on Twitter here and here.

Finally, check out Grape Wall’s previous April Fool’s posts:

A few people are still convinced this is real.

Comments

One Response to “Vintage discovery: World’s oldest wine tasting note unearthed in China”

  1. Oliver
    April 1st, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

    Still my favorite place for April Fools.

    And I’m still convinced that LaFight would sell well…

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