Filed under: Wine
Many French wines boast an extensive history, but the sweet dessert wine of Chateau d'Yquem traces its heritage all the way back to the 16th Century. Chateau d'Yquem is the winner of the Readers' Choice Award for Best International White Wine.
In 1593, a nobleman named Jacques Sauvage gained control of the feudal territory of Yquem, where noteworthy winegrowing techniques were starting to take root. Toward the beginning of the 17th Century, the Sauvage family consolidated the vineyards and built the chateau that still stands today.
Gallery: Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes
As the years went on, Chateau d'Yquem's reputation made its way around the world. In the 19th Century, the wine became a favorite in Meiji dynasty Japan and in Imperial Russia, where the Tsar's brother paid 20,000 gold francs for a barrel of Chateau d'Yquem. At the start of World War I, the chateau was temporarily converted into a military hospital; during World War II, the head of the family was taken prisoner for two years before returning to France to bring Chateau d'Yquem to new heights.
Luxury goods conglomerate LVMH became the house's main shareholder in 1999, installing Bordeaux wine expert Pierre Lurton as the estate's manager. Other than that, not much has changed – and today, Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes remains one of the most beloved dessert wines in the world.