I was introduced to Chateau d’Yquem by Joanna Lumley.
Not personally I’m sad to say. It happened when I was a trainee at a wine shop and she called up to buy a bottle for her husband’s birthday. At that point we could actually only sell six bottles, but my manager used her discretion as a) it was Joanna Lumley b) the bottle cost more than most half cases we sold.
My manager seemed just as excited about Joanna Lumley being a customer, as she was with what she was purchasing.
After work I did some reading and learnt that it was a sweet, white wine from the Sauternes region in Bordeaux.
The appellation system – in which wines are given a classification based on geographical location, perceived quality and in many cases politics, is confusing at best. Suffice it to say that Chateau d’Yquem is the only Premier Cru Superieur (Superior First Growth) from Sauternes. I was intrigued.
When I was 17, I was getting ready for a night out with two friends – in one of their mother’s fancy city centre apartment. We raided the cupboards and found a bottle of wine to drink. That sip, to put in mildly, was utterly magical! I couldn’t believe anything could taste so good – honey, luscious stone fruit and ripe citrus. I picked up the bottle and stared at the label to make sure the name would be seared into my mind forever. It was Tesco’s own label Premieres Cotes De Bordeaux.
This bottle, which opened my eyes (and tastebuds) to the world of wine, is similar to Chateau d’Yquem in that they are both sweet, from the right hand side of the Gironde river and made with a blend Sauvignon and Semillion. The difference though, is that one was £5 and the other is the most expensive white wine in the world.
How good then, must the Goliath of a wine taste? This month, I found out.
“You always remember your first sip of Yquem” Pierre Lurton, CEO said to me as I held my first ever glass in my hands – a 2019 poured straight out of a jeroboam.
As with all these fancy dinners, we’re offered canapes before the proper sit down meal. Being a sweet wine, I had a few ideas as to what we might be treated to – but fried chicken strips wasn’t my first thought.
The play between the tangy saltiness of the chicken and sweetness of the wine was incredible, with the spices in the rub being elevated to near Michelin Star status thanks to Yquem’s mango, pineapple, honeysuckle and ripe citrus notes acting like the ultimate tropical salsa side.
I was transported, nay catapulted, straight back to that evening getting ready. A moment of utter joy and paradise discovering something truly delicious.
A moment that hopefully I will be able to replay again in the future.
If you would like your own moment, you’ll be glad to learn that Chateau d’Yquem are partnering with multiple restaurants across the globe for their new lighthouse initiative. Pairing different cuisines with 2019 d’Yquem by the glass. List below:
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