18th century vin jaune at Christie’s auction

13th April, 2012 by Rupert Millar

A bottle of vin jaune from the 18th century is to be offered at auction at Christie’s Geneva house next month.

The bottle, from 1774, will go under the hammer on 15 May with an asking price of SFr40,000 – 50,000.

The 238-year-old wine comes directly from a cellar in Arbois and is part of a wider fine wine auction that includes a selection of Mouton Rothschild 1945 (SFr65,000-85,000), a case of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche 1959 (SFr40,000-60,000).

There is also a “magnificent” collection of 338 bottles and 43 magnums of Latour from various vintages, including a magnum of 1905, two bottles of 1918 and a bottle each of 1920, 1928, 1929, 1959 and 1961.

Michael Ganne, head of Christie’s Geneva, commented: “Christie’s May auction of fine wines in Geneva sounds like the most exciting appointment for the category in the country. Among the precious highlights from the sale is a very special bottle of vin jaune dated 1774.

“Being kept intact for eight generations by the Vercel family in a vaulted underground cellar in Arbois, the capital of Jura wines, this ‘Burgundy-style’ bottle  with a long neck and rounded belly, contains 87 centilitres.

“One of the bottles from the same batch was tasted in 1994 by 24 professionals at Château Pécauld in Arbois, and was declared as ‘excellent’. The golden-amber coloured nectar, with flavours of nuts, spices, curry, cinnamon, vanilla and dried fruits, was awarded 9.4/10 points.

“Made to last centuries when of good quality, and nicknamed ‘the wine of kings and the king of wines’, this extraordinary bottle of vin jaune is probably the oldest unfortified example of what is to be still an astounding wine and another true rarity for wine lovers and connoisseurs.”

One Response to “18th century vin jaune at Christie’s auction”

  1. Wink Lorch says:

    The bottle of ‘Vin Jaune’ 1774 is part of the same lot from which a bottle was sold at the auction of old wines in the February 2011 edition of Jura’s Percée du Vin Jaune. These wines must surely be the oldest likely-to-be-drinkable unfortified wines in the world.

    I have written about the story of the wine in depth in the latest edition of World of Fine Wine. Technically, it is a simple Arbois ‘vin de garde’ as the term ‘Vin Jaune’ was not used in those days.

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