Chateau D’Yquem has been in the hands of the Lur-Saluces family since 1785. The Chateau itself dates back to the 12th century and the Renaissance. There is a story at the chateau that in 1847 the Marquis was away in Russia hunting, he came back late and every body had waited for him, before starting the harvest. As a result the harvest was much later than normal and some of the grapes had been attacked by noble rot. While the Count made wines from these grapes they were put aside. In 1857 the Tsar’s brother Constantine who was visiting the chateau, accidentally got to taste the 1847 vintage, he liked the wine so much that he paid 20,000 francs for a cask, four times the regular price of a d’Yquem at that time. From 1859 onwards the chateau has concentrated on this style of wine.
What makes this wine so expensive is the extremely low yields, on average only a glass of wine per vine, while on average in Bordeaux they obtain a yield of roughly 1 bottle per vine. The grapes are picked at maturity one by one, and as a result the pickers normally have to go through the vineyard between 4-11 times. In-order to maintain a high standard they will declassify to a generic Sauterne a whole vintage, if the quality doesn’t measure up, as they did in 1964, 72 & 74. Each day’s picking is kept separate, until it is decided whether it goes into the final blend. Everything that comes into contact with the grapes is of wood, and the pressed juice is fermented in a 100% new wood. The extended aging of 3.5 years results in an average loss of 20% of the total volume due to evaporation. These are just a few of the factors that reveal the expense and the care taken with these wines.
Second label: Y d’Yquem.
Area tinder vines: 173ha. of which 120 are cultivated with vines.
Av. prod.: 23,500 cases.
Distr. of vines.: In one block.
Soil: Basic clay/limestone mix with pebbles over a impermeable clay subsoil.
Grape varieties: 80% Sauvignon, 20% Semillon.
Pruning: Semillon: Canes:3 canes prunned to 2 buds
Sauvignon: Guyot:1 spur with 6 buds.
Vines per ha.: 7,000.
Av. age of vines: 35 years.
Av. yield per ha.: 9-11 hl.
Harvesting: Manual 130-145 workers, with on average of 45 days work.
Added yeasts: none.
Age of casks: 100% new.
Time in Barrels : 48 months. Topped and racked every three months.
Fining: Bulls blood.
Type of bottle: Frontignan.
Bottled at the chateau: 100% since 1922.
SERVICE TEMPERATURE: 12-14 C.
STORAGE: 10-70 Years. The cellar master of Chateau d’Quem prefers them when they are 10 years old.
FOOD/CONSUMPTION: Good as a desert wine. Goes well with many dishes from fowl to blue cheese and foie gras.