LVMH (Moet Hennessy – Louis Vuitton) Group
Annual Production (Grand Vin)
Premier Cru Superieur
The wine has an interesting translation in Chinese - 滴金 (滴 = drop 金 = gold) and the pronunciation of 滴金 in Chinese is ‘dict gum’ which is similar to d'Yquem in French.
Up until October 2010, the sweet wines from the Sauternes were banned from being imported to China because they contain more than 250 mg of sulphur per litre. Following the announcement that the wines from famous estates such as Chateau d’Yquem and Climens would officially be allowed into China, many commentators predicted that these great wines would experience strong demand from the Asian market.
Chateau d’Yquem is owned by LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate, which bought the Chateau along with St. Emilion Grand Cru Classe Cheval Blanc in the last decade. LVMH aims to make d'Yquem and Cheval Blanc the world’s most premier wines and it is in the best position to exploit the Asian market as many of their brands dominate the most-wanted list of Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai’s finest.
Its extensive distribution lines within China will undoubtedly help to push both d’Yquem and Cheval Blanc. The head of LVMH, Arnault is the world's 4th and Europe's richest person, with a 2011 net worth of US$41 billion. In July 2011, a rare bottle of 1811 Chateau d’Yquem became the world's most valuable bottle of white wine, after it was sold for £75,000.
There is no doubt that the pre-LVMH vintages offer the best opportunities. The 1996 vintage having been scored at 95+ points and compared on an equal footing as the 1997 – makes the best case for investment. The 2001 vintage which scored 100 points and received widespread acclaim, currently trades around £3,900 per case. There could be fantastic growth potential in even the top vintages as in comparison to the hugely popular first growth wines, they are at a considerate reduction.
The most recent vintages to get 100 points are the 2009 and 2015. At £2,650 per 12 the 2015 benchmarks very well against the 2009 (£3,590 per 12).
This is a winery that is no stranger to rubbing shoulders with the rich and powerful, having been owned by a succession of French and English Kings and having been the favourite wine of US President Thomas Jefferson- no wonder d’Yquem is often referred to as the ‘King of wines’.
In 1968, Alexandre de Lur-Saluces was in charge of the estate Chateau d'Yquem in Sauternes, with troubles only arising after luxury goods conglomerate LMVH purchased half the shares in the estate in 1996 for $50 million. There was friction between Lur-Saluces and the new owners which led to a number of law suits being filed and court battles which dragged on for years. Alexandre finally lost control of the estate in 2004 when LMVH purchased the remainder of the shares and Bernard Arnault, gained a personal majority among the shareholders.
Pierre Lurton, managing director at Chateau Cheval Blanc was appointed as the president of Chateau d'Yquem and in 2003, LMVH made one of the most significant economic changes in D’Yquem’s history when they ushered in the practice of selling en primeur, which poses its own unique challenges in an estate that does not release a vintage for 4-5 years after the harvest year.