At 240 years old, a 1774 vintage – the year that King Louis XV of France died, the bottle of vin jaune had been kept in an underground vaulted cellar of a family of winemakers in the region of Jura for eight generations. Wine and particularly vin jaune of this age and calibre doesn’t come up very often so it was subject to fierce bidding and was sold to an unknown French buyer. Adding to its kudos, it’s said that Louis Pasteur who was born in the region, was said to have celebrated his admission to the Academie Francaise in 1882 with a bottle from the same batch.
Vin jaune, (yellow wine) is a type of white wine made in the Jura region in eastern France. It’s not unlike a dry Fino Sherry and is full of character as it’s matured in a barrel under a film of yeast (called voile) on the wine’s surface which gives it a nutty flavour.
Yellow wine is known for its quality of aging well and even modern vin jaune is generally recommended to be ready only ten years after bottling. It should be served at cellar temperature 13–15 °C (55–60 °F) and the wine is sometimes decanted to let the oxygen stimulate the unique aromas. Vin jaune is good with savoury food dishes and it’s especially well known for being used in chicken recipes from the region such as this chicken with vin jaune and morel mushroom dish.