Great wines are not born just anywhere, by accident. A unique set of climatic and geological conditions combine to form a rare equilibrium. This is undoubtedly the case at Yquem, which epitomises all that is best about the singular winegrowing environment in Sauternes.
Raised to the ranks of Premier Cru Supérieur appellation in 1855, Château d'Yquem is the product of meticulous work in the vineyard. Since its beginnings, it has benefited from an exceptional terroir, as well as being the result of a unique ancestral know-how since 1593.
Long before it was enjoyed by the first US President George Washington, the wines of Yquem had already begun writing their chapters in the history books. It all began in 1453 when Aquitaine, previously English, was brought under French rule. A century later, a local nobleman by the name of Jacques Sauvage was granted feudal tenure over Yquem and thus became the first in a long line of dedicated winemakers. This outstanding terroir in the sauternes appellation has exceptional climate conditions and geological features. Château d’Yquem was attributed the esteemed title Premier Cru Supérieur in 1855. From that point, the genius of this sweet wine was acknowledged, and the Sauvage and Lur Saluces families went on preserving their treasure for over 400 years. The LVMH group acquired the estate in 1999, with the continued desire to go on writing the legendary Yquem story, both in keeping with tradition and remaining open to modern advances. From the vineyard to the cellar, the great art which crafts each vintage is also maintained through respect for the label, and determines the destiny of each year’s production.
Château d'Yquem's topsoil is warm and dry, accumulating heat thanks to smooth flat pebbles and coarse gravel. The clay subsoil contains good water reserves and there are numerous springs on the estate. Drainage pipes were installed some time ago to prevent waterlogging (100 km of drains since the 19th century). Yquem's large size made it possible to plant 113 hectares of vines on a very representative sampling of the rich tapestry of the Sauternes region's soil types. This extraordinary variety of soils is a key factor in the quality and complexity of Château d’Yquem.