Sauternes - Chateau d'Yquem
Château d'Yquem is a Premier Cru Supérieur wine from Sauternes. In the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855, Château d'Yquem was the only Sauternes given this rating, indicating its perceived superiority and higher prices over all other wines of its type.
In 1996, the famous luxury good company, LVMH purchased half of the shares of Chateau d’Yquem for one hundred million dollars. The relationship between the new owners and the family members was tempestuous and inspired multiple law suits that dragged on for years.
After a long, bitter court battle and multiple lawsuits with a myriad of heirs, the Count arranged for L.V.M.H/Moet-Hennessy-Louis Vuitton to purchase the remaining shares of the property in 2004. They named Pierre Lurton, who was already managing their other property, Cheval Blanc in St. Emilion to manage Chateau d’Yquem.
The vineyard has 126 hectares (310 acres) in the Sauternes appellation, though only 100 hectares (250 acres) are in production at any time. Each year, vines from two to three hectares are grubbed up and left fallow for a year. Since grapes from newly planted vines are not worthy of the chateau name for five to seven years, about 20 hectares are held in reserve each year. The vines consist of 80% Sémillon and 20% Sauvignon blanc, though the latter's vigour implies the proportions are more nearly equal in the final wine.
The yield averages nine hectolitres per hectare, compared to the usual twelve to twenty hectolitres per hectare in Sauternes.
Chateau d’Yquem is the only wine that almost everyone, everywhere agrees stands heads and shoulders above every other wine in the appellation. On average, 65,000 bottles are produced each year. In a poor vintage, the entire crop is deemed unworthy of bearing the Château's name and sold anonymously; this happened nine times in the 20th century: 1910, 1915, 1930, 1951, 1952, 1964, 1972, 1974, and 1992 and in the 21st century one time: 2012.
In July 2011, an 1811 bottle of Château d'Yquem sold for £75,000 ($117,000) at the Ritz in London to a private collector, Christian Vannequé, to become the most expensive bottle of white wine ever sold.