Chateau d’Yquem located in the Sauternes, famed across the world for its sweet wines, was very nearly English. During the middle ages it belonged to the King of England, also Duke of Aquitaine. Luckily for French wine, in 1453 Southwest France was brought under the French crown by Charles VII and has stayed French ever since.
In 1593, possession of the land was given to the Sauvage family and they built the present chateau, and consolidated, plot by plot, the vineyard still used today. Francois Josephine Sauvage became the head of the family in 1788, and was the mastermind behind the development of the Chateau into a business. Hanging on through the French Revolution, the vineyard flourished, and Chateau d’Yquem became internationally known. Great Duke Constantine, brother to the Tsar of Russia, caused a stir at the time by paying 20,000 gold francs for a barrel of their wine.
Run by the family until 2004, Chateau d’Yquem is now headed by Pierre Lurton whose philosophy is to maintain Chateau d’Y’quem’s legendary reputation, respecting tradition but still being open to modernity. The Chateau now produces 65,000 bottles each year.
In 2006 a Chateau d’Yquem 135-year vertical (containing every vintage from 1860 to 2003) was sold by The Antique Wine Company in London for $1.5 million, one of the highest prices ever paid for a single lot of wine. That same year, Dior and Château d'Yquem collaborated on a skin care product made from the sap of the Yquem vines.
In 2011, an 1811 bottle of Château d’Yquem sold for £75,000 at the Ritz to a private collector, becoming the most expensive bottle of white wine ever sold. Chateau d’Yquem wine has been mentioned in literary works by Proust, Colette, Verne and Dumas.
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Pays the local minimum wage and/or the local living wage.