Château d’Yquem: The Undisputed Finest Sweet Wine in the World
Glimpse of History:Château d’Yquem is situated in Sauternes, Gironde region in the southern part of the Bordeaux known as Graves. The history of Château d’Yquem is like a novel full of events, it began writing its chapters in the history 400 years ago when it was owned by the King of England who was also the Duke of Aquitaine. In 1453, it was bought under the dominion of the French crown by Charles VII and stayed French ever since. In 1855, the estate was designated the only Premier Cru Supérieur in the official Classification of 1855 made at the request of Napoleon III. Château d’Yquem’s owners have changed over the years until it was acquired by LVMH – Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, end of the 20th century.
A Noble Terroir:Since its beginning, it has benefited from an exceptional terroir with a unique set of climatic factors and geological conditions. The 113 hectares of vineyards are situated on the highest hill in Sauternes and are planted around 75 % of Semillon and 25 % of Sauvignon Blanc. The microclimate in the Sauternes region is perfect for the production of sweet wine: the climate is maritime (frost, hail and rains) due to the proximity of the Garonne & Ciron rivers; high temperatures engender mist from both rivers that descends upon the vineyards from evening to late morning; the soil is warm and dry (accumulates heat); the subsoil contains good water reserves. All these conditions promote the development of the Botrytis cinerea fungus (noble rot).
The Iconic Know-HowWhen Botrytis cinerea colonizes the grapes, the skins become permeable and causes water to evaporate, hence, concentrating the sugar levels. Several waves of selective harvesting occur once the grapes are beyond ordinary ripeness (highly concentrated in sugar) and reach the “signature” level at Yquem, which is 20% of potential alcohol with 360 grams of sugar per liter. This late harvest forms a high risk of losing the crop as winter approaches, and a reduction of around 50% of the total juice volume. As a result, yields are very low at Yquem, on average 9 hectoliters per hectare, and is one of the reasons for its consistently outstanding quality. The fermentation at Château d’Yquem takes place in new barrels in order to maintain maximum control over this delicate part of winemaking. These new barrels are made from the finest oak from forests in the eastern part of central France. Pierre Lurton “What Makes Yquem so Great is the People Behind the Château”
The Style of YquemWines from Château d’Yquem are characterized by their complexity, concentration, and sweetness, which is balanced by relatively high acidity. With proper care, a bottle will keep for a century or more, and the fruity overtones will gradually fade and integrate with more complex flavours. Since 1959, Château d’Yquem has also produced a dry white wine called “Y”, made predominantly from Sauvignon blanc and a few lots of Sémillon. It was originally produced only in select years; since 2004 10,000 bottles have been produced every year. Y is a rare wine made from the same vines as Château d’Yquem, yet, the winemaking process is a bit different. Discover now Château d’Yquem vintages listed now on our APP & included in our Special White Wines Collection!
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