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

What is yellow wine?

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

The legend on the origin of yellow wine

The origin of this beverage remains very mysterious. The legend tells that its discovery would be the fruit of chance. By finding a forgotten cask at the bottom of his cellar, a winegrower would have had the nice surprise of discovering a precious golden nectar! It would have been a pity to spoil it, especially since vin jaune is considered today as one of the greatest wines in the world.

Secrets on the elaboration of vin jaune

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

Its elaboration? The vin jaune owes its typicity to its unique elaboration process. After fermentation, it is kept for six years and three months in oak barrels without topping up, that is to say 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 elaboration process gives this wine its typical aromas.

How is it bottled? As atypical by its shape as its capacity, the clavelin is the only container authorized for the bottling of this unknown wine. Created to measure at the request of the wine growers in the 18th century, this unique bottle has a capacity of 62 cl, which is about what remains of one litre of wine after its ageing.

Tasting the yellow wine

The Colour : Brilliant and limpid, the robe of this yellow wine has a beautiful golden colour.

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 little-known wine, it should be drunk slightly chambré and ideally between 15-16°.

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

Our opinion: It is also loved with exotic cuisine, especially with spicy curry dishes.

The tradition of the "Percée du Vin Jaune" (Yellow Wine Breakthrough)

Every first weekend in February since 1996, the Jura vineyards have been honouring their precious wine. Having become a major wine event bringing together nearly 400,000 visitors each year, the Percée du Vin Jaune celebrates the piercing of the first barrels of yellow wine. After six years and three months of ageing, the wine allows the full power and richness of its aromas to be expressed for the pleasure of the many amateurs and curious people. In 2016, the Percée du Vin Jaune celebrates its 20th anniversary with a rich edition combining festivities and traditions. On the programme: traditional parade and ceremony of the Percée du Vin Jaune, meetings with the winegrowers, tastings, cooking competition, sommelier competition, etc.

Louis Pasteur's work on Vin Jaune

If Louis Pasteur is famous for the development of the rabies vaccine, much less is known about his work on wines. Around the middle of the 19th century and at the request of Napoleon III, Louis Pasteur undertook in-depth studies on the conservation of wines. A native of the Jura and a great wine lover, he was naturally interested in the resistance of yellow wine during its ageing in casks. This is how Pasteur will show the link between the veil of yeast on the surface of the wine and its exceptional capacity for conservation! Speaking of vin jaune, Louis Pasteur declared that "The careful study of this wine and all the conditions of its production is one of the most enlightening studies I have had on the general properties of wines. »

Quentin (Les Grappes)

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