LONS-LE-SAUNIER.- On Saturday the 26th of May, the last 102 bottles from a famous wine cellar of Arbois in France will be sold at auction by Jura Encheres in Lons le Saunier (Jura).
These bottles have been preserved till now in a protected place called the Tabernacle, in the Jura region of France.
Among the last bottles of this collection are three bottles of Vin Jaune d'Arbois, millésime 1774, carefully kept by eight generations of celebrated wine maker, Pierre Vercels heirs (1694-1754), a family of winemakers from Arbois known since the fourteenth century. The three bottles are estimated to sell for 15,000-20,000 each. This extraordinary amber and old gold coloured wine has been described as one that gives you goosebumps.
This Vin Jaune of 1774 is one of the oldest preserved wines in the world. Its exceptional longevity comes from the particular way it is made. A bottle from this lot was tasted in 1994 by 24 connoisseurs, scientists and oenologists who evaluated it. They awarded it a mark of 9.4 / 10 and concluded with a comment to revisit in 100 years.
One of the experts said that the wine gave him goosebumps. Its appearance was superb, a deep colour of amber tinted old gold. The nose had a very intense rich fragrance of walnuts, ginger, cumin, fenugreek, cinnamon and vanilla, plus dried apricots, figs and raisins, beeswax and wood. It then developed roast coffee notes with caramel honey and gingerbread. The taste itself was structured and powerful, the marked acidity and alcohol matched by a touch of not-unpleasant bitterness and astringency. However, the flavors of nuts and spices were obvious, too, with some notes of oranges.
Two bottles of the same original lot were presented for sale by auction in 2011 and 2012 and sold for 57,000 and 38,000.
A personal anecdote about this wine shows its perceived value in France and the world. Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), the father of microbiology, whose fight against germs has saved millions of lives, was a close friend and classmate of the wine maker Pierre Vercel's grandchildren. Pasteur chose to celebrate his election to the Academie Francaise in 1881 with a bottle of Vin Jaune
Few people have saved more lives than Louis Pasteur. The vaccines he developed have protected millions. His insight that germs cause disease revolutionised healthcare. He found new ways to make our food safe to eat. So it is interesting that he was not concerned about drinking this wine when it was already 107 years old.
Among the 102 bottles of this collection, and alongside the mythical Vin Jaune, will be offered a white wine of Arbois from 1811.