Chateau Yquem is without doubt the grandest and best known of all the great Sauternes estates. In fact, it is widely regarded as one of if not the most exclusive dessert wines produced anywhere in the world. When classified in 1855, Yquem was granted the exclusive and unique title of Premier Cru Supérieur.
The list of past owners reads like a who’s who: King Louis VII and King Henry II were just two of the illustrious previous owners. In more recent times (1785), the estate became the property of the Lur-Saluces family. After a 219 year family association with the Chateau, Alexandre Lur-Saluces stood down in 2004. Now the property is under the ownership of luxury goods brand LVMH and the stewardship of Pierre Lurton and winemaker Lorenzo Pasquini.
In all, they have 100 hectares of vines, planted with 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. Pickers are required to undertake numerous tries, depending on the vintage and the spread of botrytis. Fermentation takes place in oak and there is liberal aging in barrel. The Grand Vin is one of life’s treasures. It is a wine of unerring purity, complexity, finesse and power. It is the wine that all other Sauternes estates aspire to be. For sweet wine lovers, it is quite simply Sauternes nirvana.
There is also a very successful dry wine called ‘Y’ (Ygrec). This is produced from Sauvignon Blanc, harvested before botrytis affects the vineyards.