March 18, 2013

Château
d’Yquem

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You can see the Château d'Yquem from miles around, perched on the highest hilltop in the Sauternes region of Bordeaux, and flanked on all sides by vines. The grapes growing here and their famous "noble rot" produce the juice for one of the world's most exquisitely complex, subtly sweet wines, often compared to a golden nectar.

The Château d'Yquem's history is a family saga tracing several generations of the Sauvage d’Yquem and Lur Saluces families, each leaving its mark over the centuries with respect and humility. From atop the crenellated fortifications, one gazes upon 400 years of rich history.

The sturdy château is nearly as complex as its wine—even the golden yellow stone is a similar color to the nectar produced here. Much of the château has survived the test of time, including a recently-restored chapel with biblical scenes painted in the late 1700s, and on the ground floor, a grand salon where majestic 17th-century frescos depict hunting scenes.

The last descendant of the Sauvage d'Yquem family, Françoise Joséphine, who married Louis Amédée de Lur-Saluces, built the wine cellar to the east of the main building. This is where precious stacks of bottles from recent vintages sit alongside others dating back centuries, all meticulously stored.

Four times a day, the air fills with the sound of a ringing bell. As it did in the past, it signals the start and end of each workday, as well as the midday break. Like so much else here, the sound reflects four hundred years of proud tradition that have brought Château d’Yquem such renown.

www.yquem.fr

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