By Sarah Gray
May 10, 2018

Three bottles of vin jaune (or “yellow wine”) from 1774 are being auctioned later this month in France.

The 244-year old wine—made before the U.S. was a country—are being sold by the descendants of famous 18th century winemaker Pierre Vercel, according to The Guardian. Varcel, or perhaps family member Anatoile Vercel, according to auction house Christie’s, made wine in France’s Jura region during the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI.

The three bottles, which have been kept in a cellar, are the last of that vintage owned by the family.

Vin jaune was originally “matured in a barrel under a film of yeast, called the voile,” according to The Guardian. The process is said to help it maintain its very very long shelf life.

In 2012, Christie’s auctioned a bottle of 1774 vin jaune for $49,343, according to the wine publication Decanter.

The last time a bottle of the 1774 vin jaune was opened was in 1994 for a tasting by 24 oenologists, scientists and wine connoisseurs, according to The Guardian. The wine, described as a “golden amber-coloured nectar, with flavours of nuts, spices, curry, cinnamon, vanilla and dried fruits,” received a score of 9.4 out of 10.

The nearly 250-year-old wine was well-known even when it was just over 100-years old. The scientist Louis Pasteur, known for his breakthroughs in pasteurization, is said to have celebrated his acceptance into the Académie Française by drinking 1774 vin jaune in 1881.

The auction, at which 102 wines from the Jura region will be sold, reported, is to be held by Jura Encheres in Lons-le-Saunier on May 26.


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