1974 Philippus Petrus Deetlefs Muscat d’ Alexandrie

Like most things precious, South Africa’s most expensive dessert wine wasn’t made in a day. Back in 1974, two winemakers from Breedekloof entered into a friendly wager. One claimed it was impossible to mature a Muscat d’Alexandrie for any length of time. The other winemaker believed otherwise. His name was Philippus Petrus Deetlefs. To prove his theory, he filled a third of a tank with Hanepoot lees, and the remaining two thirds with Hanepoot wine, and in closing the tank, he began a new chapter in the Deetlefs story. Fifteen years later, in 1989, the tank was opened. Inside was a unique and sublimely flavoured wine.

Today, this Muscat d’Alexandrie is deemed one of the world’s rarest wines, as the small volume of this very special batch is decreasing. In honour of Philippus Deetlefs’ legacy, only one small batch of Muscat d’Alexandrie will be made every twenty five years.

It is this passion for innovation that has defined the Deetlefs Family wine estate throughout its almost 200-year history. And although forty six years may seem like a long time to make a wine, our Muscat d’Alexandrie 1974 is proof that certain things are well worth the wait.

The exclusivity vests in Deetlefs, should you be interested in pricing – please contact [email protected].

Tasting Notes

Unique and exquisitely flavoured, this is a wine that can only be described as a “sweet stunner”.

Burnished gold.


Complex honeyed nose of marmalade and spice, with fresh lime, apricot and peach aromas. In addition, ripe aromas of dried fruit, nuts, and toast. Rich and opulent. The Americans would describe this wine as a “blockbuster”.


Thick on the palate, with flavours of raisins, minerals spice and, again, toast. However, the impression of a good acid backbone and high alcohol provide a fresh, lively palate feel. Warm and mouth filling, even more layers of flavour – caramel and citrus to be exact – develop after the wine has been swallowed.

Magnificent lingering fruitiness on the mid-palate. Concentrated, dense and delicious, and, most surprisingly: elegant beyond expectation.

With desserts:

Any rich, spicy pudding and it can be very sweet too. South African (or English) oven-baked desserts will be perfect: the whole range from Christmas cake to Christmas pudding to mince pies, including cakes and tarts, with cream or custard or sweet fruit sauces. Excellent, also, with sweet fruit desserts like exotic sweet fruits, or glace fruits (especially glace green figs, or canned green figs in syrup – often served with coffee in South Africa. One of the most attractive things about this wine is that it is indeed so South African.

Brilliant with apricot or peach tartlets, with sweet dessert soufflés, chocolate mousse and other chocolate desserts. Also serve with chocolate or pecan ice cream, and with ice cream that is served with a layer of berries from a Rumtopf. In fact, this wine will work well with all ice cream which is usually impossible to match with wine.

Also serve with all ginger-flavoured sweet dishes. It’s made to compliment ginger flavours.

This Hanepoot would also be delightful with all citrus-flavoured sweet dishes. Just imagine a very rich, dark orange-flavoured chocolate mousse or a dense orange and almond cake!

With cheese:

With Parmesan, Gruyère, Sbrinz, Pecorino, Stilton, Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Blue Cheshire, and old, old Cheddars (that have been matured for at least a year). Even a highly-flavoured and salty cheese like a goat’s milk or a sheep’s milk cheese. Also, with this wine on offer, something sweet can be enjoyed alongside the cheese, like whole pieces of watermelon jam or glace green figs.

With rich liver patés:

Not just foie gras. Any rich, highly flavourful liver dish from beef to chicken. But it will have to be creamy and full.

With egg omelets, filled with canned fruit or Berry Kompott.
Often, for a light lunch and after serving a very salty or acidic first course, an egg omelet with a sweet filling which serves both as main course and dessert, is a splendid idea. This wine would be lovely with such a dish, especially if cheese is served afterwards. The wine would then simply continue into the cheese course.

It would also be a delightful drink to serve with coffee, pancakes and cinnamon sugar on a Sunday afternoon.

A last remark:

Duck in orange sauce can be served with this wine, but many people will find it over-kill. It is simply a fact that so few wines are suitable for sumptuous desserts, that it almost seems a pity to try and force them to partner savory dishes. A brilliant wine like this should accompany those old brilliant sweet things which are so hard to match with other wines!

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Frequently Asked Questions

The 1974 Muscat is unique to any other product in terms of the story, the quality and the price. There is only one batch of 3500 litres of this special 1974 Muscat d’ Alexandrie available forever and a day. This 1974 Muscat must be seen as more than a wine; a unique product that is one of a kind in the world of luxury goods. As such it cannot be compared with any other wine. Third party confirmation on the story, the quality and the price complete the picture.

Rarity and uniqueness! There is only 2700 litres of the 1974 Muscat that my father made available, and it can never be replenished. The rarity, value and price will increase as the demand grows and volumes decrease. The intrinsic value of a unique product like this is determined by the rarity, availability and future demand. This wine is being described by some as “liquid gold”.

We do not market and sell it as an investment, however it might turn out to be a good one as the volume of this wine decreases and the rarity value increases. The Deetlefs family will keep a percentage as an investment for themselves.

The discerning individual who is fortunate enough to own and enjoy one of the world’s most rare and unique wines, collectors and/or corporate companies who want to reward their most valued customers.

This is best explained by a time-line:
The wager and the “birth” of the Muscat
The tank was opened and tasted
1 bottle earned $3,130 in Rome at a charity auction
First sales at $80 per 375ml bottle
Price increased to $175 per 375ml bottle
Realisation that we had a very rare and valuable item convinced us to withdraw the Muscat from the market
The last two bottles of the first release ended up at ±2,300 end of that year
Deetlefs branding was changed to reflect the history and values
A small percentage of the 1974 Muscat was released selectively world-wide and was selected for the Gala-dinner at the 2015 Annual Convention of the Leading Hotels of the World in Lausanne, Switzerland (November 2015) together with BlancPain watches, Laurent-Perrier, Moët Hennessy and Pommery
Only 400 bottles were sold before the withdrawal in 2004. A few individuals were fortunate enough to get hold of some.

It is policy not to buy back any of it as we do not have any control over the handling and storage conditions.

Since the story behind the origin of this unique product became known, it has generated its own momentum. It was news on television in 2003 (SABC and CNN), as well as on radio in South Africa and various publications (lifestyle, financial and wine publications)

You cannot compare the Muscat as it is unique to any other product in terms of the story-quality-rarity-price-combination.

South Africa is a special country with special people. It reads like the history of our country: if you believe in something, act upon it and live your dream, you may achieve it and cause a ripple-effect that will be felt for many generations. Born out of “stubbornness” this special wine carries a message of hope!

Exceptional quality substantiated by awards: Michelangelo (South Africa) in 2000 and Muscats du Monde (France) in 2003.
Wine writers described it as follows:
“Highly individual style for more specialized palates” – Dave Hughes
“Superb old Muscat and a rarity” – John Platter
Unlimited ageing potential! Thanks to a slow oxidation process over many years on the lees, the sulphur is basically zero and the wine very stable.

Unique and exquisitely flavoured, this is a wine that can only be described as a “sweet stunner” – Katinka van Niekerk
Unfortunately the wine is not available for tasting.

In order to honour Philip Deetlefs for his revolutionary vision and tradition, a limited batch (5000 litres) of Muscat has been made in 2003 for a 25 year release in 2028, and one batch of 5000l will be made every 25 years. Although it will never have quite the uniqueness of the first wine made by my father, it will tell the story to generations to come.
“It is special to be part of this historical product.” – Kobus Deetlefs

Awards & Accolades

Tim Atkin

96 Points
Tim Atkin 2018

Finance Week

“A record for a 375ml bottle of South African Wine” Finance Week, March 2003

Dave Hughes

“Highly individual style;
for more specialised palates”

John Platter

“Superb old Muscat and a rarity”
John Platter

Muscat du Monde

2003 Muscat du Monde Gold,


2002 Michelangelo Gold,