The Château d'Yquem is around 100 hectares in size and is one of the most famous wineries in the world. In particular, this winery in France produces noble sweet premium wines, which are based on a unique method developed in the 18th century. The vines consist of approximately 20% Sauvignon Blanc and 80% Semillon, a harvest happens several times in the same fields. As a rule, the harvest begins in mid-October and can last into December: each berry affected by gray mold is hand-picked and harvested individually, batch by batch. The noble fungus gives the sweet dessert wines from France a very special touch due to the exact degree of ripeness. This special selection of grapes reduces the yield accordingly, and thus a whole vine produces a small glass of Sauternes from Château d'Yquem. As a result, there are only around 1250 bottles per hectare. However, these are not the only special features that characterize the Château d'Yquem individually and make it part of the luxury segment. As soon as the weather conditions are not ideal and the cellar master Sandrine Garbay is not 100% convinced of the quality of the wine, there will be no Château d'Yquem in the respective vintage. This circumstance has already occurred several times, so that there was no wine during the 1910, 1964 and 2012 vintages, among others. If this is the case, the harvest is resold or used for a dry white wine that bears the name "Y". The noble winery from France even makes a loss with this decision: several million euros are not earned with ongoing costs. However, the company's own demands on the wine are very high and no goods should be sold that the producers are not completely convinced of. This limitation turns the premium wines from France into rarities.
For first class quality
This uncompromising vintage gives the winery an exceptional exclusivity. These very high quality standards and the complex production process are the reasons for the price development of the wines. The young wine is left in so-called "barriques" (oak barrels) for four years to mature in the barrel. After the noble drop is then bottled, its shelf life is very long due to the complicated production method and its special properties. The wine promises a high level of enjoyment for more than a hundred years, and a 184-year-old bottle has already been awarded a 100-point wine. Since the introduction of the luxury winery Château d'Yquem at the end of the 16th century, there has been no disagreement as to who is number one in the Sauternes region, which is known for its sweet wine. Château d'Yquem is the only winery in Bordeaux that is officially allowed to bear the status of Premier Grand Cru Classé Supérieur on the occasion of the 1855 classification. It is also an honorary member of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, which was founded in 1973. This is an association of different winegrowers who represent various wine-growing areas of the French region. An international dealer network and cooperation with winegrowers find a platform here.
The creation of a wine of the millennium
Some of the 100 hectares at Château d'Yquem are regularly replanted, so that new plants are always available. In order to meet the high demands of the Château d'Yquem winery, the vines are only generated after a period of five years. By loosening the soil of the winery in France, which takes place several times a year, the winery and plants are renewed regularly. This technique has produced some outstanding premium wines at Château d'Yquem over the past two centuries. According to the then Comte Lur Saluces, the 1811 vintage was a very special one. The combination of optimal weather conditions, the harvest and the work in the cellar resulted in a perfect interplay that created a wine of the millennium. The 1975, 1976, 1988 and 1990 vintages are also described as fantastic premium wines. We at Vintage Grapes think that a quote from the Comte perfectly describes the beautiful secret of the noble sweet wine: "A Château d'Yquem must be grasped with the nose, the palate and the whole soul, it must be smelled, tasted and loved. Whoever does that will realize what this wine was, what it is and what it always will be - a mystery."