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Ancient Vin Jaune fetches $49k

A 240-year-old bottle of Vin Jaune has been sold at Christie's for just under US$50,000.

The 1774 bottle, which fetched US$49,343 (CHF46,000) at Christie’s Geneva last night, was sold to an unnamed French buyer.

It was part of a batch which had been kept intact for eight generations by the Vercel family, winemakers in the region, in a vaulted underground cellar in Arbois, the capital of Jura wines.

Arbois was also the birthplace of the creator of modern oenology, Louis Pasteur, who – according to legend, Christie’s said – in 1882 savoured a bottle from the same batch to celebrate his admission to the Academie Française.

Vin jaune, made from the local Savagnin grape, is unfortified, but is similar to sherry in that it gets its distinct nutty, dry flavour from a film of yeast, known as flor in Jerez and as voile in the Jura, that forms on the surface of the wine as it matures.

The last time wine from this batch was officially tasted, Christie’s said, was in 1994. It was pronounced ‘excellent [with] ‘golden-amber’ nectar, and ‘flavours of nuts, spices, curry, cinnamon, vanilla and dried fruits.’

A similar bottle of Vin Jaune sold for €57,000 (US$72,517) in February 2011.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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