WORLD-FAMOUS SWEET WINE FROM BORDEAUX
In the Gironde department, the small town of Sauternes is one of the most prestigious in France. It is renowned for its production of sweet white wines under the eponymous appellation. Considered the most famous sweet wine in the world, the Sauternes AOC is known for its refinement and complexity, but also for its Grands Crus classés. Produced in the Sauternes region, south of the left bank of Bordeaux, this sweet wine is made from Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle grapes. Surprisingly golden in colour, it is praised for its flavours and aromas, both complex and harmonious. This sweet white wine owes its exceptional qualities, among others, to the noble rot, under the action of botrytis cinerea. With a name that alone makes you dream, a wine with a luminous colour and unique aromas, Château d'Yquem is one of the jewels of this appellation. Producing a prestigious wine, this estate contributes to France's influence throughout the world. Its exceptional wines are the fruit of the know-how of several generations of passionate winegrowers. Since its beginnings, this château, which has a history of several centuries, has benefited from an exceptional terroir with a rich soil and favourable climatic conditions. Thanks to the meticulous work carried out from the vineyard to the cellar, this emblematic wine estate offers particularly sought-after wines that are praised by wine lovers and collectors alike. Moreover, Château d'Yquem is the only white Premier Cru Supérieur in Bordeaux classified in 1855. Since then, the successive owners, the Sauvage and Lur Saluces families, then the LVMH group, have maintained the genius of this sweet wine and the legend of Yquem. Over the centuries, they have never ceased to promote the know-how, authenticity and modernity of Château d'Yquem.
WHERE IS CHÂTEAU D'YQUEM LOCATED?
A mythical place, an exceptional tourist destination, but also a wine estate of excellence, Château d'Yquem is far from wearing a single label. Located in the Bordeaux vineyards, this emblematic place is situated in the commune of Sauternes. On the heights of the highest hill in the Sauternes region is a sumptuous building dating from the 16th century. A true medieval castle, this imposing fortress is magnified by its crenellated walls and its round and square towers. The Château d'Yquem has been listed as a Historic Monument since 2003.
GRAPE VARIETIES AND VINEYARDS
Plunged into silence, this place full of history has at its feet a vineyard spread over 113 hectares. However, only a hundred or so are used for production. Indeed, at Château d'Yquem, the vines that are too old are uprooted and left to lie fallow for a year. At the end of this time, they are replanted. However, a minimum of five years is necessary for the new vines to produce grapes that meet the estate's criteria. Thus, a dozen hectares remain constantly at rest. The Château d'Yquem vineyard is planted with grape varieties mainly used in the Sauternes AOC. The rich, sappy Sémillon grape occupies the majority of the cultivated area. This variety of grape brings volume and a robust structure to the wines. The Sauvignon Blanc, early but less regular, is also used in the composition of the château's crus, bringing its finesse and aromas to the wines. Finally, Muscadelle is grown in very small quantities in the vineyard. Recognisable by their aromatic complexity, the wines of Château d'Yquem benefit greatly from the exceptional quality and diversity of the vineyard's soils. Indeed, warm and dry on the surface, the soils are made up of large gravelly pebbles which favour the accumulation of heat. The clayey character of the sub-layers, favouring a richness of the soil in water, greatly improves the quality of the terroir. It should be noted that many springs are found on the slopes of Yquem. In the 19th century, the château installed 100 km of underground pipes to drain the vines. The Yquem wine estate also enjoys a micro-climate, giving it a privileged location for the production of great Sauternes wines. Carefully working the soil and the vines in the traditional way, the teams at the château rely on the know-how perpetuated by the teams under the direction of the vineyard manager. Thus, they only use farmyard manure to amend the soil. This operation preserves the natural balance of the soil, maintaining a degree of poverty. This allows the vines to give the best of themselves. Weeding is also carried out using traditional cultivation methods. To ensure maximum ripeness of the berries and to limit the potential quantity, severe pruning is carried out at the beginning of the winter. In addition, some of the vines are thinned out to accelerate the drying of the grapes in the morning.