A Gift from Yquem's Sister Estate.

From 1785 until 2004, the Lur Saluces family owned two great estates in Sauternes: Château d’Yquem and Château de Fargues.

And from 1943 to 2004, the Sauternes from the two properties were made identically, using the same ruthless selection in the vineyard, the same vinification, and same aging. 

No expense was spared. And the resemblance of de Fargues to Yquem was, in the words of Robert Parker, “uncanny.” Parker went on to write that when “tasted blind, many tasters, including most experts, usually judge it to be Yquem.”

Between its small production and similarity to Yquem, de Fargues became one of Bordeaux’s earliest cult wines.

But with Alexandre Lur Saluces’ sale of Yquem to LVMH in 1999, and his retirement as Yquem’s CEO in 2004, the Lur Saluces family relinquished the limelight. That allowed it to focus all of its passion and intention on its remaining  jewel, Ch. de Fargues.

Our partner Neal Rosenthal has entered into a unique agreement with the Lur Saluces family to purchase old vintages from its cellar. Neal gave me a copy of the list, and one wine jumped off the page: the famous 1998 Ch. de Fargues, in both full and half bottles.

This is a legendary vintage for de Fargues and one whose reputation has grown over time. In fact, since 2018, 1998 de Fargues has received ratings between 94 and 96 points from three major critics. 

The 1998 also was a show-stopper at a vertical tasting we attended last year with a member of the Lur Saluces family. 

And of course it's extraordinary to be able to acquire both full and half bottles that have never left de Fargues' cellar. The ex-château provenance makes the halves especially enticing, since it assures us of perfect preservation.  

But most astonishing are the prices, which are the lowest in the U.S. regardless of provenance:

$119.95 bottle and $1350 case of 12 (OWC)
$59.95 half btl and $1350 case of 24 (OWC)

An Insider's Secret
The key to de Fargues' greatness is its remarkable terroir, which rivals anything to be found in Sauternes. It’s situated on a small hill of sand and gravel topsoil on a stony, clay base overlooking the Garonne River, in a very special microclimate that alternates humidity, sun and wind.

But a great terroir is nothing without great vineyard work and great winemaking. And for this, we can thank the fact that the estate has enjoyed the same brilliant director, François Amirault, working under the Lur Saluces family’s direction for more than thirty years. 

At only 15 hectares, de Fargues is one of Sauternes' smallest vineyards, and under Amirault's direction the average yield is only 8 hectoliters per hectare, even less than Yquem's. This is achieved through several triés, as they harvest only the most perfectly botrytised grapes.

Whether you prize Sauternes for dessert or as the classic companion to foie gras, this is an incredible opportunity.

Late spring-early summer arrival, direct from the château.


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