'Yellow wine' from 1774 to be sold at auction

Tipple dating back to Louis XVI's reign set to fetch £17,500 a bottle

Saturday 26 May 2018 14:02 BST
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Two bottles, of three vintage bottles of vin jaune "yellow wine" from 1774
Two bottles, of three vintage bottles of vin jaune "yellow wine" from 1774 (REUTERS)

Wine connoisseurs will be able to buy a truly vintage tipple when three bottles of "yellow wine" dating back to 1774 go up for auction in France on Saturday.

The bottles of Arbois Vin Jaune are among the oldest in the world. They were made with grapes harvested when Louis XVI sat on the country’s throne.

Now they have been estimated to be worth up to €20,000 – £17,500 – each according to the auction house, Jura Encheres in Lons-le-Saunier, which will sell them.

One of three bottles of vin jaune "yellow wine" from 1774, is presented
One of three bottles of vin jaune "yellow wine" from 1774, is presented (Reuters)

"Having three bottles from this particular year and of such quality is exceptional," said lead auctioneer Philippe Etievant, according to the Economic Times.

The bottles were produced in the Jura region by 18th century winemaker Anatoile Vercel and have been kept by his descendants ever since. It gets its distinct colour from the grape being harvested later in the year and then being matured under a film of yeast.

A panel of two dozen experts tasted a sample of the same 1774 batch in 1994 and scored it 9.4 out of 10. They praised it for its notes of “walnuts, spices, curry, cinnamon.”

Yet the potential price tag remains some way off the world’s most expensive ever wine. Bottles of 1907 Heidsieck champagne sold for $275,000 - £206,000 - in 1998 after they were salvaged from the bottom of the sea.

The Swedish freighter carrying a crate of the stock had been sunk off the coast of Finland during World War One giving the drink historic – as well as vintage – value.

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