What seems like a massive 40,000 Swiss Francs (approximately €33,500) before Buyer’s Premium – 46,000 Swiss Francs in total was paid today for the bottle of Vin Jaune 1774 offered at auction by Christie’s in Geneva. But, this was about 40% lower than what was paid for a bottle from the same vintage and collection in February 2011 at the auction of old bottles at the Percée du Vin Jaune in Arbois. A case of different times or different bottles?
Apparently there were only around 15 people in Christie’s Geneva sale room today for the wine sale that included the bottle of the 1774 Arbois wine – sold as Vin Jaune, from an impeccable source, but as all the collection without a label. The cork was described in the Christie’s catalogue as shrunken and fragile, but that is hardly surprising. Although it is likely to have been re-corked at some point in its life, the bottles that were tasted in the early 1990s already showed very old corks, and they have not been re-corked since then. However, most people believe the wine will be not only drinkable, but a mythical Vin Jaune.
Bids came in by telephone starting at SF30,000 and eventually the winning bid within Christie’s estimate was by internet and the trade buyer, based in Europe, has chosen to remain anonymous for now. It appears that François Audouze, the under-bidder at last year’s auction chose not to bid for this bottle.
The excitement engendered by the auction last year in Arbois created wonderful publicity for the Jura, helping to bring it to the notice of those who had perhaps not heard of the region before. I’ve noticed that this second auction has brought plenty of tweets, but the news coverage has simply re-iterated the Christie’s press release and little more.
Perhaps now it’s time to draw breath and return to the reality that is the Jura: a very small vineyard region providing a fascinating range of highly unusual, good value, sometimes under-valued wines, that due to both its size and its originality will only ever be able to satisfy relatively few adventurous wine drinkers, who I am keen to encourage.