First Growth, unassailably top of the class and the stuff of legend, this, though the building itself is more of a fortified farmhouse than a château, really. The golden, ambrosial expression they produce is famed the world over. Of course all of this is brought about by serious attention to detail.
The botrytised grapes are carefully removed with small secateurs so as not to damage the remaining fruit that is still bringing itself to, well, fruition, with each plot picked over an average of six times in a season. The grapes are pressed immediately upon arrival at the cellar, the juice put straight into new oak barrels and aged for 30 months, with regular topping and racking.
Yquem's philosophy has been the same for five centuries: to finesse nature and produce an average of just one glass of brilliance per vine. If the quality is not worthy of the estate's reputation in a given year, it is not sold under the château name. Nine vintages were thus not marketed by Yquem in the 20th Century. The estate is these days managed by Pierre Lurton on behalf of the L.V.M.H. group.
Barsac Sauternes, Bordeaux, France
Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc