Posts Tagged With: 1774 Arbois

Christie’s sale of 1774 Jura wine disappoints

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.

Recent Vins Jaunes

Vins Jaunes in the press office at the Percée 2012 ©Brett Jones

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.

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The story of the 1774 bottle and Vin Jaune re-visited

Arbois 1774

1774 Arbois bottle sold at auction ©Serge Reverchon/CIVJ

In February 2011 at the annual auction of old Jura wines at the Percée du Vin Jaune festival, a bottle of 1774 Arbois was sold for a massive and record-breaking 57,000 euros.

I wrote about it in my Jura updates last year, and was commissioned for a long piece by the magazine World of Fine Wine. In their ‘Then and Now’ section I wrote about the history of this bottle and its sale, plus about Vin Jaune today. I was really impatient to see the article published – finally it has been and is in the current edition of World of Fine Wine.

Story of 1774 Vin Jaune

Click to read the article as a PDF

The research for this article was absolutely absorbing for me with people like producers Pierre Overnoy and Stéphane Tissot, local historian Roger Gibey, and the purchaser of the bottle Pierre Chevrier being really generous with their time.

At the Percée du Vin Jaune this February in Ruffey-sur-Seille the severe cold (at -18°C the coldest on record!) drew many visitors to attend the auction, but it was certainly a more low key affair. It’s still impressive though to see the array of bottles of 50 years old and more. The highest price paid for a bottle was for a Château-Chalon 1870 (reputed as an excellent vintage) and it went for a trifling 5,500 euros. The Percée next year will be in the village of Voiteur at the foot of the Château-Chalon hill, on the weekend of 2nd-3rd February 2013.

STOP PRESS: According to a feature on the Christie’s website, but not apparently official, it appears that Christie’s Geneva will be selling another of the 1774 ‘Vin Jaune’ Arbois bottles from the Vercel collection at their auction on 15th May 2012.

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