French family’s last three bottles of 1774 wine up for auction

Other bottles of same wine among the oldest in the world previously fetched up to 57,000

Bottles of wine believed to be among the oldest in the world are to go on sale at auction in France this month.

Three bottles of 1774 vin jaune from the Jura region of eastern France, known as” the wine of monarches and the king of wines”, are listed at up to EUR2 0,000( PS17, 600) each but could fetch virtually double that.

The 87 cl bottles have been carefully guarded by several generations of descendants of Pierre Vercel, a celebrated 17 th-century winemaker, and are the last remaining in the family’s cellar.

In 1994 a group of wine connoisseurs, scientists and oenologists tested a bottle of the wine and proclaimed it excellent, indicating it should be revisited in 100 years’ time. It was described as a” golden amber-coloured nectar, with flavours of nuts, spices, curry, cinnamon, vanilla and dried fruit”, and given a score of 9.4 out of 10.

Two bottles from the same collecting were sold at auction in 2011 and 2012 for EUR5 7,000 and EUR3 8,000 respectively.

At the time of the 2012 marketing in Switzerland, Michael Ganne, the head of Christie’s Geneva wine sale, wrote:” Amongst the precious highlights from the sale is a very special bottle of vin jaune dated 1774 … Built to last centuries when of good quality … this extraordinary bottle is probably the oldest unfortified example of what is to be still an astounding wine and the other true rarity for wine devotees and connoisseurs .”

It is said that the chemist Louis Pasteur, who was born in Jura and was a close friend of Vercel’s grandchildren, celebrated his entry into the Academie Francaise in 1881 with a bottle of 1774 vin jaune , then a relatively young 107 years old.

Vercel, who came from a line of celebrated winemakers dating back to the 14 th century, is credited as the inventor of vin jaune , a type of white wine built merely in Jura and similar to dry fino sherry, except it is not fortified. It is made and ripened in a barrel under a cinema of yeast, called the voile , which is believed to improve its longevity.

As well as the 1774 wine, the auction includes 99 other bottles, the last remaining from the Vercel cellar. They will go under the hammer in Lons-le-Saunier on 26 May.

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