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Yquem releases up-market six packs

With an eye to well-healed customers this Christmas, Château d’Yquem has released a number of smart presentation cases with single bottles featuring selected vintages back to 1982.

The 1980’s case: £2,050

The up-market six packs come direct from the Châteauand are based on three different decades. At Justerini & Brooks prices range from £1,200 for the 1990s case  to £2,050 for the one from the 1980s.

“Yquem clearly have some ex-Château stock and it’s quite an interesting way to package and market their older wines,” the firm’s Bordeaux buyer and broking manager, Tom Jenkins, told the drinks business.  He was not expecting huge demand however.

“We’ve never been that good at selling mixed cases and collectors want full cases, so it was never going to be an offer that hit our core customer base. But it’s a little bit different and if some of the vintages are not stellar years, Yquem, even in an off vintage, is still an exciting wine.”

Oliver Sharp, head of buying at Bordeaux Index, added: “We have sold a few, though the offer may have come a little late in the day to hit Christmas. Yquem does have a secondary market and it is bucking the sauternes trend. It does have a recognisable presence and people do still buy it.” What they do with it is another question. The Château’s former owner, Comte Alexandre Lur Saluces, used to say d’Yquem was like a protected monument – everyone admired it, but nobody drank it.

Since the Chinese ban on sweet wines like Sauternes was lifted four years ago, the country is seen as a key target. At this year’s Hong Kong Vinexpo, the Château’s president, Pierre Lurton, told Bloomberg TV: “I come regularly to China and Hong Kong, and people are so excited about d’Yquem because of its colour and because it’s very easy to associate with Asian food.”

Since LVMH wrestled the brand from the Lur Saluces family in the late 1990s, it has been released en primeur, yet recent prices have raised eye brows. “Consumers of Yquem can find plenty of good vintages in the market at around half the price of the latest release,” said Sharp.

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