The vintage ranks as one of the best of the twentieth century all over Europe. And in Germany’s winegrowing regions, 1921 could very well have been the vintage of the century. Anybody who comes across a wine from this vintage doesn’t hesitate...

Kupfergrube TBA 1921

… However, there are not many bottles from 1921 on the market any more – no wonder, when one considers the historical significance:

Born out of rags & tatters
After the World War years 1914–1918, the German economy was ruined. Like many other sectors, the wine industry was depressed. Vineyards and cellars, distribution and markets had to be restored under extremely difficult conditions. Furthermore, the victorious allies imposed crippling demands for reparations upon defeated Germany – which was hardly in any condition to pay. As security, the Allied Powers occupied the left bank of the Rhine River, along with four ‘bridgeheads’ on the right bank, including Cologne and Mainz.

A timely rescue
The Nahe Valley was occupied, by the French, and the wines of the Prussian State Viticultural Domain Niederhausen Schlossböckelheim (today Gut Hermannsberg) from the exceptional 1921 vintage would thus have fallen under French administration. But the directors of the estate were able to sell the precious wines into unoccupied Frankfurt am Main before the French were able to take control, so that they remained in Germany.

Presented to the president
When, after protracted and tedious negotiations, the German government was able to bring about the departure of occupying forces, the country’s President von Hindenburg figured as one of the heroes of the success. He was singled out for honors at gala festivities in Cologne celebrating the liberation from British occupation. And it was no accident that Hindenburg was poured a wine from the Royal Prussian Wine Domain: they were aware of his preference for this particular producer. At this commemorative fête, on 31 March 1926, the 1921er Trockenbeerenauslese Kupfergrube was served.

The last bottle
Only one bottle of this wine remains in the Rarities Cellar at Gut Hermannsberg – a bottle that incorporates both a historical document and a phenomenal vintage. The neck of the bottle is decorated with a banderol, where one can read the ornamental script: Presented as a celebratory libation to honor the President of Germany, General Field Marshall von Hindenburg, at the liberation festivities in Cologne, on 21 March 1926.

Vinified with artistry & expertise
When Gut Hermannsberg’s general manager and oenologist Karsten Peter replaced the cork two years ago, and in doing so examined the condition of the wine, he was astonished at its concentration, complexity and freshness. The cellarmaster was heard to exclaim: ‘The wine is as fresh as the new morning’!

And the wine is most certainly anything but a lightweight: In order to be classified with the Prädikat Trockenbeerenauslese, today a wine must reach 150 degrees on the Oechsle scale – the TBA from 1921 in fact doubled it! Karsten Peter was extraordinarily impressed, and says, ‘This was a masterful achievement on the part of my predecessor, to escort this wine of 308° Oechsle perfectly through the process of fermentation.’

One of a kind, in every respect
The 1921 Kupfergrube Trockenbeerenauslese is a unique specimen: historically, qualitatively and emotionally. It is therefore anticipated that Gut Hermannsberg will reach a new auction record with this bottle – after a 2015er TBA last year recorded the highest figure since the beginning of the VDP Auctions in 1910, a hammer-price of 10,600€.


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