Chateau d’Yquem is simply iconic. Known for producing one of the world’s greatest sweet wines, Yquem’s fine history dates back to the late 16th Century when Jacques de Sauvage acquired the estate from the French monarchy. It remained in the same family through marriage for nearly 200 years. Yquem garnered many accolades and appreciation from famous names throughout history, including Thomas Jefferson – Yquem was his favourite French white wine and records show that he ordered 250 bottles for himself, and more for George Washington! In 1968, Yquem was taken over by Comte Alexandre de Lur-Saluces, to whom much of the estate’s modernisation is credited. In 1999, Chateau d’Yquem was sold to the luxury goods company Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy however former owner and director Alexandre remains in charge.

The estate itself is situated on the highest point in the commune of Sauternes and  has wonderful views over the surrounding countryside. Yquem’s 110 hectares of vineyards are planted to 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes are only harvested when they are fully botrytized; it is this ‘noble rot’ that produces such elegant sweet wines. Expert pickers are so selective during the harvest that yields are so low that one vine only produces one glass of Yquem. The wines are aged in 100% new oak barrels, resulting in a product that is unequalled by fellow Sauternes. When young, the wine has a nose of apricots, mandarin and oak. However they age extraordinarily and the complex flavours are harmonised with the wine’s sweetness and balanced acidity. It is no surprise that the estate is ranked as Premier Cru Classé supérieur.

Yquem’s worldwide acclaim has resulted in some eye-watering results at auction for the estate. In 2006, a single lot of Château d’Yquem containing every vintage produced from 1860 until 2003 was sold for US$1.5 million, one of the highest price wine lots ever purchased. In late 2010 China lifted its importation ban on Sauternes and sweet wines and since then its popularity has soared. In 2010 the ‘Liquid Gold Collection’ of 128 bottles and 40 magnums of Château d’Yquem sold at Christie’s Hong Kong for US$1,032,336, million; a record for a single lot in Asia.

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