In the series on the 1855 Classification of the First Growths,
I spoke exclusively about red wines. In that same year, however, the sweet dessert wines from the Bordeaux communes of Barsac and Sauternes were also classified. All of the dessert wines listed were rated as either premier cru (first growth) or second growth status. That is, all but Yquem which was rated Premier Cru Superieur (First Great Growth), a higher rating even than any red wine achieved in their 1855 Classification. Yquem is quite possibly the greatest wine made anywhere and has a history dating back four hundred years! While every wine region has its stars, there is probably no other winery that so dominates the quality of a region and has such as a lofty reputation as Chateau Yquem. What makes these wines so special is that they develop a rot called botrytis cinera also known as Noble Rot. When certain grapes are attacked they get moldy which, in a wonderful twist of fate, causes the grapes to lose much of their moisture, concentrating the flavors. The resulting grapes look like moldy shriveled raisins that produce a sweet nectar.