Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes

France - Bordeaux
Alexandre de Lur-Saluce

Chateau d’Yquem is not only the most famous chateau in Sauternes today, the estate has possessed an exalted reputation dating back to the middle ages when d’Yquem was owned by the King of England.

At the time, the King was also the Duke of Aquitaine. Skipping ahead 150 years later, in 1593, a local noble family, Jacques Sauvage, was given feudal tenure over d’Yquem. Shortly after taking over the property, the Sauvage family built the present Chateau in Sauternes that we know today.

It still looks very much as it did in those days. It feels like a castle. The Sauvage family also changed the grape varieties in the vineyard in 1642 to 100% white wine grapes. Prior to 1642, at least 20% of the vines were planted to red wine grapes.

Was d’Yquem producing sweet or dry wine at the time? Archives prove that special Bordeaux wine growing practices and late harvesting already existed in the 1500’s in the appellation. By 1666 they were starting to make wine with grapes that were attacked by noble rot. So, yes the wines were sweet, but today, Chateau Yquem has much higher sugar levels.

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