Tuesday, January 17, 2023

LeDomduVin: Sauternes by Château d'Yquem

Sauternes by Château d'Yquem

Have you ever seen this bottle before? 

Well, me neither, until tonight. It was given as a gift to someone who wanted me to verify its authenticity. 

As an ex-Wine Quality Control Director (for 9 years in my previous job), I accepted right away, both interested and bewildered by the sight of this strange-looking label. 

To be honest, “What is this? Is it made in China?” is the first thing that came to my mind. 

I had never seen such a bottle in my entire 31 years career in the wine industry. Moreover, it says "produced at Chateau d’Yquem". And, in all these years of buying, selling, tasting and serving both wines from Chateau d’Yquem, “Y” of Yquem and the eponymous Grand Vin of the Chateau, you will think that I would have come across this particular wine and label. But, no, never. 

What is this? A “Sauternes” made by Yquem? Is it a fake? Could it be a counterfeit? I had to look it up prior to sending an email to the Chateau to obtain some explanation. 

And, what I found out is very interesting (at least to me). 

It is not a fake, nor a counterfeit, actually. As Jeff Leve (@jeff_leve) wrote on his very helpful and insightful website "The Wine Cellar Insider": 

"While the estate strives to make vintages of Chateau d’Yquem every year, that is not always possible. Chateau d’Yquem ended up declassifying the entire harvest and did not make wine in the following vintages, 1910, 1915, 1930, 1951, 1952, 1964, 1972, 1974, 1992, and 2012.

So, what does Chateau d’Yquem do with the declassified wine? In the past, declassified grapes that were not used in the production of their dry, white wine “Y”, were sold off in bulk and used to produce a generic, Sauternes wine.

Today, declassified grapes are also used to produce a special blend of declassified d’Yquem that is only available to employees through internal sales at the property. The wine is not meant to be sold as a commercial product. The wine is classed as a generic AOC Sauternes wine.” - Jeff Leve (www.thewinecellarinsider.com)

Now we have the answer. Thank you, Jeff. 😊👍🍷


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