Château d’Yquem opens its doors for private visits / With its exceptional terroir, Château d’Yquem recounts the story of unique savoir-faire passed on from one generation to the next since 1593. Now, for the first time the estate is opening its doors, offering a chance to discover its rich history during intimate private visits.
A visit to Château d’Yquem is a discovery of an epic saga that has lasted more than 400 years, rich in events and colorful personalities. The guided tour immerses visitors in the exceptional art and craftsmanship behind the time-honored savoir-faire that has earned the estate such renown. The highlight of the experience is a tasting of a Château d’Yquem vintage, as well as of “Y” the estate’s exceptional dry white wine.
Private tours of the estate for between one and 12 persons. 60 euros per person. There are three tours daily from Monday through Sunday.
Reservations at http://reservation.yquem.
Château d’Yquem Reigns Supreme Over White Wines at Auction
In July 2011, a bottle of 1811 Château d’Yquem became the world’s most valuable bottle of white wine when it was sold by London fine and rare wine specialists The Antique Wine Company for £75,000 ($117,000), beating the previous record of $100,000 for a bottle of 1787 Château d’Yquem, which it also sold. The buyer was French wine connoisseur and sommelier Christian Vanneque who acquired the bottle for his restaurant SIP Sunset Grill in Bali, Indonesia.
Though the main focus at wine auctions of younger collectors and new buyers from Asia and Latin America has been red wines, where there has been greater price volatility, both up and down, the auction market for Château d’Yquem has been relatively consistent over the last few years, says Jamie Ritchie, CEO of Sotheby’s Wine Asia and Americas, “which illustrates steady demand from wine drinkers.”
According to Ritchie, the appeal of Château d’Yquem is its incredible depth, complexity, and length, as well as its perfect combination of honeyed fruit, acidity, and sweetness. “The collectible nature is a combination of its longevity (it can easily age for 100 years, due to the balance of fruit, acidity, alcohol, and sugar) along with the fact that it is in a category of one — it is the only Sauternes classified as Premier Grand Cru in 1855, so it stands alone, without rivals,” he explains. One factor that has focused the spotlight on older vintages is an increase in the release price of new vintages that was instituted by the new owners of the Château d’Yquem estate, LVMH.
John Kapon, CEO of the New York-based wine retailer and auctioneer Acker Merrall & Condit, says that savvy connoisseurs are turning more to pre-1990 vintages, where they can find some maturity, often at a better price than current releases, which Kapon says “aren’t as drinkable anyway.”
Richard Harvey M.W., Global Head of Wine at Bonhams, suggests that anyone wanting to add a bottle of Château d’Yquem to their collection should first research the best vintages (1921, 1929, 1937, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1955, 1959, 1967, 1983, 1988, 1989, 1990, and 2001), which he says “do not always correspond to those of red Bordeaux.” The next step, he says, is to look for bottles of these vintages which are frequently sold at auction. “Also some other vintages are remarkably good but sometimes under-rated: 1943, 1953, 1962, 1975, 1976, 1986, 1995, 1996, and 1997,” says Harvey. “However, avoid vintages like 1963, 1965, and 1968 when no Yquem should have been made,” he adds.
The CEO of Chicago-based Hart Davis Hart Wine Co., Paul Hart, advices wine connoisseurs who are in the market for a bottle of Château d’Yquem to ensure that the company from which the wine is purchased is diligent about checking for provenance and condition. “You wouldn’t want to purchase a bottle of d’Yquem only to discover that the cork is soft, the ullage is uncharacteristically low, or the bottle is counterfeit,” says Hart.
With regards to the bottle of 1811 Château d’Yquem bought by Vanneque, it remains on show at the SIP Wine Bar, where it is showcased in a temperature and hygrometrically-controlled bullet-proof glass box. Vanneque says that he will open the bottle in August 2017 at La Tour d’Argent in Paris during a dinner with family and friends. It will mark the 50th anniversary of the start of his career as a sommelier at La Tour d’Argent.
When Vanneque opens that bottle, he may like to consider this bit of advice from Simon Tam, Christie’s Head of Wine in China, who says: “To own a bottle of this liquid gold is certainly life’s little sweetener. Do take your time to sip and savor all that the wine has to offer. A young d’Yquem is best paired with a ripe peach or nectarine while a matured d’Yquem is best with roasted nuts.”
by Nicholas Forrest, This article originally appeared in Blouin Lifestyle, October 2014