Oenologie - Qu'est-ce que le vin jaune ? - Les Grappes

What is yellow wine?

Updated on December 13, 2022

Nicknamed " the Gold of the Jura ", the yellow wine owes its fame and its typicity to its unique and mysterious process of elaboration. Let's discover the secrets of this wine that Louis Pasteur tried to discover!

The legend of the origin of yellow wine

The origin of this beverage remains very mysterious. Legend has it that it was discovered by chance. When he found a forgotten barrel in his cellar, a winegrower was surprised to discover a precious golden nectar! It would have been a shame to spoil it, especially since the yellow wine is considered today as one of the greatest wines in the world.

The secrets on the elaboration of the yellow wine

Its grape variety? The yellow wine is a white wine exclusively from the local grape variety, the Savagnin. Only four appellations d'origine contrôlée (AOC) are authorized to produce it: Arbois, Côtes du Jura, Château-Chalon and Etoile.

How is it made? Vin jaune owes its typicality to its unique process of elaboration. After fermentation, it is kept for six years and three months in oak barrels without topping up, i.e., without completing the part of the wine that evaporates, better known as the famous "angels' share". A veil of yeast will then form on the surface of the wine, preserving it from oxidation by avoiding direct contact with the air. This unique and mysterious process of elaboration gives this wine its typical aromas.

Its bottling ? As atypical by its shape as its capacity, the clavelin is the only authorized container for the bottling of this unknown wine. Created to measure at the request of the winegrowers in the 18th century, this unique bottle has a capacity of 62 cl, which is approximately what remains of a liter of wine after its aging.

The tasting of the yellow wine

The eye : Brilliant and limpid, the dress of the yellow wine is decorated with a beautiful golden color.

The nose : Typical and intense, the bouquet of this wine expresses itself on aromas of fresh nuts, dried fruits and sweet spices with delicate floral notes.

The Palate : Rich and powerful on the palate, this wine offers a balanced structure with aromas of nuts, green apple and spicy notes.

Tasting advice : To appreciate all the richness of this unknown wine, it should be drunk slightly chambré and ideally between 15-16°.

Food pairing : This wine can be drunk as an aperitif but also goes well with foie gras, shellfish or poultry in cream sauce. It can also be used in cooking and in particular in many specialities from the Franc-Comté region: the famous coq au vin jaune or the tasty trout in vin jaune.

Our opinion: We also love it with exotic cuisine, especially with spicy curry dishes.

The tradition of the Percée du Vin Jaune

Every first weekend of February since 1996, the Jura vineyards honors its precious wine. It has become a great wine event gathering nearly 400,000 visitors each year, the Percée du Vin Jaune celebrates the tapping of the first barrels of yellow wine. After six years and three months of aging, the wine expresses all the power and richness of its aromas for the pleasure of the many wine lovers and curious. In 2016, the Percée du Vin Jaune celebrates its 20th anniversary with a rich edition combining festivities and traditions. On the program: traditional parade and ceremony of the Percée du Vin Jaune, meetings with winegrowers, tastings, cooking competitions, sommelier competition, etc.

Louis Pasteur's work on yellow wine

If Louis Pasteur is famous for the development of the rabies vaccine, his work on wine is less well known. In the middle of the 19th century, Louis Pasteur undertook extensive studies on wine conservation at the request of Napoleon III. Born in the Jura region and a great wine lover, he was naturally interested in the resistance of yellow wine during its aging in barrels. This is how Pasteur showed the link between the veil of yeast on the surface of the wine and its exceptional capacity of conservation! Speaking of yellow wine, Louis Pasteur declared that "The careful study of this wine and of all the conditions of its manufacture is one of those which have enlightened me the most on the general properties of wines. "

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