Château d’Yquem probably produces the most reknown sweet wine in the world. The name Yquem was probably derived from Ramon Felipe Eyquem, who bought the estate in 1477.
The estate has a vineyard since at least 1711, when it was a property of Léon Sauvage d’Yquem. In 1785, the château was passed to the Lur-Saluces family and they remained the proprietors for more than 200 years, until 1999, when it was sold to the LVMH conglomerate.
The vineyard is situated in Sauternes (Bordeaux) and covers 126 Ha, although not all the land is used to produce wine. In the official classification of 1855, Château d’Yquem was the only domaine classified as “Premier Cru Superieur”.
The grape varieties used are: Semillon (80%) and Sauvignon Blanc (20%) and only the individual grapes affected by “Noble Rot” (Botrytis Cinerea) are hand-picked to produce the wine. The harvest may take up to eight weeks because there are on average six selective pickings. Because the yield is extremely low (8 Hl/Ha), it takes one vine to produce only one glass of Yquem. Many famous people in the past loved this sweet wine, particularly Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, but also the Tsars of Imperial Russia.
The wine is capable to last at least 40 years, but the top vintages can be laid down in your cellar for 100 years or more. Because of the severe selection and the high standards used by the Château, no Yquem was produced in 1910, 1915, 1930, 1951, 1952, 1964, 1972, 1974, 1992 and 2012.
Château d’Yquem also produces a dry white wine (since 1959) called “Y” (Ygrec) from Sauvignon Blanc (predominantly) and Semillon as well. From 2004, they produce “Y” every year. The legendary vintages of Château d’Yquem are: 1811 (the famous “comet year”), 1825, 1847, 1865, 1870, 1893, 1921, 1937, 1947, 1959, 1967, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1997, 2001, 2007, 2009 and 2015, but actually all vintages produced are a pleasure to drink….Read more