Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855, Château d'Yquem was the only Sauternes given this rating, indicating its perceived superiority over all other wines of its type. Wines from Château d'Yquem are characterised by their complexity, concentration and sweetness. A relatively high acidity helps to counteract the sweetness. Another characteristic for which Château d'Yquem wines are renowned are their longevity. In a good year, a bottle will only begin to show its qualities after a decade or two of cellaring and with proper care, will keep for a century or more, gradually adding layers of taste and hitherto undetected fruity overtones.
Château d'Yquem is also purportedly the only house which ensures that the wines are made from individually picked grapes, ostensibly to ensure that quality is the finest possible. This means that each vine, on average, can only produce a single glass of wine.
Since 1996, Château d'Yquem has been owned by the French luxury goods giant Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton or LVMH, who bought the Château from the Comte Alexandre de Lur-Saluces after a bitter family feud although he was kept as the manager of the estate. However in May 17, 2004, LVMH retired the Count who was replaced by the current managing director of Château Cheval-Blanc , Pierre Lurton. The Count was renowned for being particularly dedicated towards maintaining the level of quality which made Château d'Yquem famous, going so far as to reject an entire batch of the wine if he did not like the results of a randomised testing.
The wine is said to be a favourite tipple of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. Thomas Jefferson, in his capacity as Envoy to France, visited the château and enjoyed the wines so much that he wrote a letter to the de Sauvage family (who then owned it), requesting 250 bottles of the 1784 vintage for himself, and additional bottles for George Washington.
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