First Growth Chateau Yquem is located in the Sauternes appellation, to the south of the Bordeaux region. Spread over 113 hectares, only 100 hectares produce grapes in a given vintage. The vineyards are planted on clay subsoil with pebbles and coarse gravel topsoil. The grape varieties are a combination of 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc.
Grapes are hand-picked and sorted, with care taken to select the grapes that are both botrytised and have attained maximum concentration. Harvesting will take place 5 or 6 times to achieve this. As soon as they are picked, the grapes are quickly transported to the cellar, where they are pressed several times. This is essential to extract highly-concentrated juice. Different lots of grape must are blended every evening and then put into new barrels for alcoholic fermentation to begin. Before blending the wines are aged in barrels for 6 to 8 months. After blending, the wines are transferred back into oak casques to age for 3 years.
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