Subscribe to our newsletter and be
first to hear about wine news, exclusive events and tempting offers.
Order Château d'Yquem »
Top Vintages Produced:
1811, 1834, 1847, 1859, 1929, 1967, 1975, 1986, 1988, 1990, 2001, 2009
Château d’Yquem – Premier Cru Superieur Classé in 1855.
Ygrec – Appellation Bordeaux Contrôlée.
Sémillon (80%), Sauvignon Blanc (20%)
Château d’Yquem – First Wine: Sémillon (90%), Sauvignon Blanc (10%).
Ygrec – Sauvignon Blanc (70%), Sémillon (30%)
Château d'Yquem is considered by many to be Bordeaux’s single greatest wine
and it is the only wine in France to hold the Premier Cru Superieur (Great First Growth)
designation. The uncompromising pursuit of quality is what sets this sweet white wine apart –
a standard meticulously maintained throughout the estate’s history.
The château was built in the 16th and partly in the 17th
centuries by the Sauvage d’Yquem family who came into possession of the estate in 1592.
Nearly 200 years later, the Lur-Saluces family acquired the Château by marriage when,
in 1785, Joséphine d'Yquem married Comte Louis Amédée de Lur Saluces.
It was under this new ownership that the vineyard flourished. Widowed only three years later at a young
age, Joséphine d'Yquem transformed the estate into a highly efficient business with an international reputation.
To accommodate the subsequent increase in demand that occurred with an increasing number of high-profile
consumers, including the likes of Thomas Jefferson and the Tsars of Russia, a new cellar was built in 1826.
This expansion was followed by a long period of prosperity for the Lur-Saluces family and Château d’Yquem.
In 1999, the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy group acquired a majority interest in the estate after members of the
Lur-Saluces family disposed of their shares. In 2004, the group made the decision to appoint Pierre Lurton as
manager of the estate, replacing Comte Alexandre de Lur Saluces. Lurton was prompt in making Château d’Yquem
available en primeur, rapidly increasing the demand for this golden nectar.
Viticulture and Vinification
In terms of purity of style and richness, Château d’Yquem out-classes all other Sauternes. One of the major
contributing factors to the wine’s complexity is the unique set of climatic and geological conditions that combine to form a rare microclimate.
The estate’s large size makes it possible to plant 113 hectares of vines (although only 100 hectares are used
each vintage) across a variety of the Sauternes region’s soil types. The topsoil is dry and accumulates heat
through the smooth flat pebbles and coarse gravel, whereas the clay subsoil has good water reserves, the drainage
of which is aided by an extensive network of pipes (over 100km) that have been installed since the 19th century.
Harvested by hand, the grapes are picked not only in successive tries but also individually to ensure that each grape
is picked only when fully botrytised. The Château’s selection process is notoriously severe with only one glass of wine
produced per vine. On occasion, the wines are not considered worthy of Château d’Yquem and the vintage will be omitted,
as was the case in 1972, 1974 and 1992.
The botrytised grapes are fermented in oak but when fermentation stops naturally at 13 to 14°C of alcohol, residual
sugar remains, the amount of which determines the sweetness of the vintage. Typically after 3 years in barrel, an average
of 110,000 bottles are produced per vintage.
Château d’Yquem’s dry white wine, Ygrec (French for ‘Y’) was introduced in 1959 as a natural reaction to the declining
popularity of sweet wines. Increasingly the blend is dominated by Sauvignon Blanc resulting in a distinctive wine that is
exceptionally dry but with botrytis on the nose and palate.
- Château d’Yquem – Premier Cru Superieur Classé in 1855.
- Ygrec – Appellation Bordeaux Contrôlée.
In the vineyard, only two grape varieties are cultivated – Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Sémillon claims the
majority at 80% of the plantings.
- Château d’Yquem – First Wine: This tends to be 90% Sémillon and 10% Sauvignon Blanc.
- Ygrec – Sauvignon Blanc dominates, usually with 70% of the blend, and Sémillon makes up the remainder.
Order top vintages of Château d'Yquem
- Château d'Yquem 2001: (100 RP)
"It is full-bodied with gorgeously refreshing acidity as well as massive concentration and unctuosity..." – Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
- Château d'Yquem 1990: (99 RP)
"Full-bodied power and richness have created a wine of remarkable harmony and purity..." – Robert Parker,
The Wine Advocate
- Château d'Yquem 1988: (99 RP)
"Possesses full body, layers of highly concentrated, extracted flavours...and a sensational finish..." – Robert Parker,
The Wine Advocate