Le Comte Alexandre de Lur Saluces

Lifetime Achievements 2001
Fargues, France

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The Count, 63, is the sixth Lur Saluces to preside at Yquem since 1785 and he has controlled production of the wine since his uncle, Marquis Bertrand de Lur Saluces, died on Dec. 19, 1968. The Comte inherited a typical annual production of 66,000 bottles a year. After the 1973 oil crisis, demand fell and prices plummeted. The price of a bottle of d’Yquem dropped to 35 francs; prices began to rise only in the 1980s.

Under the Comte’s leadership, “tractors replaced horses, collapsing cellars were renovated, and unused acreage was planted”, with production in good years reaching 100,000 bottles and sales about $10 million. Following a bitter family feud and the decision of Eugene de Lur-Saluces (Alexandre’s other brother) to sell part of his 47% share of the business, on 28 November 1996, the French luxury goods giant LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton bought 55% of Château d’Yquem from the family of the Comte Alexandre de Lur-Saluces for about $100 million.

The Comte, after first challenging the sale in court for over two years, was kept as the manager of the estate. On 17 May 2004, the Comte retired and was replaced by the current managing director of Château Cheval Blanc, Pierre Lurton. The Comte had been known for being particularly dedicated towards maintaining quality, going so far as to reject an entire batch of the wine if he did not like the results of a randomised testing. In 2006 a 135-year vertical (containing every vintage from 1860 to 2003) was sold by The Antique Wine Company in London for $1.5 million, one of the highest prices ever paid for a single lot of wine. Also that year, Dior and Château d’Yquem together created a skin care product made from the sap of the Yquem vines. In July 2011, an 1811 bottle of Château d’Yquem sold for £75,000 ($117,000) at the Ritz in London to a private collector, Christian Vanneque, to become the most expensive bottle of white wine ever sold


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