Chateau D’Yquem I knew as the best dessert wine in the world, but had never had the privilege of trying. Arriving at the Chateau, everything is immaculate. The vines are so perfectly manicured, the garden is picturesque and the waiting room is breathtaking; I was eager to experience what is Chateau d’Yquem.
Starting with the wine making process, I was astounded to learn that each vine produces just one glass of the golden elixir. This in contrast to New World wines where one vine will produce a few bottles. Makes sense why Chateau d’Yquem is commonly sold in half sized bottles of 375mL that will still fetch prices of $400 AUD.
The terroir is unique in Chateau d’Yquem. It is extremely close to the River Garon, that keeps the temperature quite cool. The grounds are in quite a foggy micro-climate that is quite windy. The Chateau uses sustainable viticultural practices but not organic or bio-dynamic.
The traditional Chateau d’Yquem white wine is produced from 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Semillon. This ratio is inversed for their Sweet range that contains on average 150 grams of sugar per litre in the final product. All wines are produced using 100% new oak, and the vines are controlled meticulously to ensure the quality remains consistently high.
The biggest barrier of Chateau d’Yquem is that it is perceived as a dessert wine, exactly my interpretation of the wines prior to this visit. This Chateau, that is owned by the LVMH group, is desperately trying to rebrand and market their wines as a luxury product that may be consumed at all occasions.
Onto the tasting. We were given one bottle to sample between the group, much less generous than the other wineries we have visited however, understandably given the limited supply of the product. This was a 2013 Sweet Wine if 13.5% alcohol. Golden in colour and powerfully fragrant in the nose. Notes of honey, vanilla, tropical fruits, dried apricots and fig; this was an extremely complex wine with full flavours.
The quality and distinctive taste of Chateau d’Yquem is due to the unique terroir that is then accentuated with controlled and meticulous viticultural practices. The final product is unbelievable, words do not express the perfection that is Chateau d’Yquem.