back to the 15th century, an impressive manor house – that looks more like a fortified farm than a château – overlooks the Sauternes countryside from a hill forty kilometres south of the city of Bordeaux.
This properties’ notoriety goes as far back as the XVIIIth century. Its name: Château d’Yquem.
The wine, a miracle of nature, owes its exquisite quality not only to a unique terroir and the professionalism of the Yquem team in the vineyard and the cellar, but also to a microscopic fungus (Botrytis cinerea) found in the Sauternes region and especially at Yquem. This divine nectar with a fabulous golden colour is famous from Moscow to Washington, from Seoul to London, from Hong Kong to Tokyo, etc.
In the autumn, morning mists give way to sunny afternoons. If this climate is accompanied by an easterly wind then the conditions are perfect to send pickers out to harvest the hundred hectares of vines, seeking only the finest Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes affected by “noble rot,” which concentrates both sweetness and flavour.
The sweet, botrytised grapes are carefully removed with small secateurs in order not to harm the remaining grapes that have not yet reached a 20 degrees potential alcohol level.
In an average year, pickers go over each vineyard plot up to six times – as things have been here done since the XIXth century…
The grapes are pressed as soon as they arrive at the cellar and the juice is immediately put into new oak barrels for fermentation.
The wine is then aged in those same barrels for the next thirty months, during which it is regularly topped up and racked.
Since 1999, the L.V.M.H (Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton) group is the main shareholder of this estate rated Premier Cru Supérieur in the 1855 classification, and Pierre Lurton is the manager.
© photos : www.ugcb.net