Château Yquem 1er cru Classé Supérieur Sauternes

The vineyards at d'Yquem total 113 ha in all, although only 100 ha are in production at any one time. This allows for grubbing up of elderly vines and replanting following a year when the plot is left fallow. The mix in the vineyard is 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc, with none of the permitted Muscadelle.

The soils are variable, unsurprising for such a large estate, but there is much clay which necessitated the installation of the aforementioned field drains. Harvest is by hand in several tries, obviously, with yields typically 9 hl/ha. Fermentation is in oak, followed by typically three years in barrel, with a racking every three months. As mentioned above, in addition to the grand vin there is the a dry white Y; this now has an increasing proportion of Sauvignon, although it was once a 50/50 blend. It spends a year in oak with regular bâtonnage. It is quite a distinctive wine, being powerful and bone dry, but with botrytis character to be found on nose and palate.

Chateau d'Yquem is certainly a special estate, ranking among the top white vineyards of France, as documented by Curnonsky (1872 - 1956), along with Le Montrachet (Burgundy), Chateau Chalon (Jura), Chateau Grillet (Rhône) and Clos de la Coulee de Serrant (Loire).