We all know Chinese "yellow wine" from Shaoxing, but did you know France also had one?
Vin jaune, precisely! It was originated in Château-Chalon, in the Jura region in Eastern France. The legend says that the monks from the monastery once left wine in a barrel which was not full and forgot it. After a while they realized wines all turned yellow and were covered with a layer of yeast. From then on, vin jaune wine was officially born.
Château-Chalon and its surrounding vineyards
This week, let Hedonia take you through the world of Vin jaune!
A special winemaking
Vin jaune is 100% made from a unique and high-quality grape variety, Savagnin, which has a low annual yield and needs to be picked by hand.
The wine needs to be aged in a 228-liter oak barrel and during this period, a layer of bacteria would be formed on the surface which protects the wine from excessive oxidation.
After this layer vanishes, the wine still needs to be aged in the barrel for few years so that the aging process is able to give the wine tertiary nutty aromas such to enrich its flavors.
Vin jaune typically displays aromas of almonds and walnuts
It takes at least 6 years to make a fine vin jaune and it usually has long aging potential, up to 50 years or more.
The Clavelin, its unique bottle
The wine bottle for vin jaune is unique in its shape and is called Clavelin, which has a capacity of 620 ml. Why this number?
This is mainly because after being aged in oak barrels for over 6 years, a quantity of wine has been evaporated, leaving only 62% of the wine in the barrel. Therefore, 620 ml was regulated as the standard bottle capacity for vin jaune.
Vin jaune is a full-bodied wine and has a long finish. Pairing it with a marvelous comté cheese is an absolute delight. Comté appears to be fruity and nutty as it ages and it matches the aromas of walnut and almonds of vin jaune.
Raclette is another fantastic choice, with its creamy texture with sweet and salty notes, combining perfectly with the rich mouthfeel of vin jaune.
Also, pairing it with hairy crab would be extraordinary. Vin jaune is high in acidity and brings out the tender texture of crab meat. Meanwhile, it is high in alcohol which helps removing the fishy taste of hairy crab and highlights its flavors.
You can drink vin jaune at room temperature or you can slightly chill it to 15 degrees for a fresher effect. Don’t forget to decant it before (about one hour) to fully unleash its bouquet of aromas.
How about comparing French and Chinese "yellow wines" during this coming Chinese New Year? You'll fall in love with it!
Founded in 2018 by Matthieu Ventelon, Hedonia is the first institution in China combining professional Wine and Etiquette expertise in the same training offer.
Find more information on our website : http://en.hedonia.cn