Unparalleled. Peerless. Otherworldly. The descriptions of Château d’Yquem trip over themselves to adequately capture the elixir under cork. Once owned by the Kind of England (in the middle ages), the Yquem estate is the sole Sauternes château rated as Premier Cru Supérieur in the official Classification of 1855. Modern times find the Yquem vineyard in its constant pursuit of perfection. Now, the watchful gaze of a dedicated vineyard crew of 20 full-time experts ensures superlative vineyard care. From bud-break through the 5 or 6 picking passes, the vineyard workers know their plot of vines so intimately that their expertise rivals that of legendary winemaker Sandrine Garbay.
Thomas Jefferson held Yquem in high esteem, deeming it the best white wine in France. To prove the point, our famed Founding Father ordered 250 bottles of the 1784 vintage for himself. We admire that self-care gifting budget and are thrilled to offer you this opportunity to treat yourself and your favorite people to the world’s finest treasure not once, not twice, but across 7 glorious vintages.
Wine Expert 97. “ The pale to medium lemon-gold colored 2005 d’Yquem opens with a provocative, mineral and earth-tinged nose of chalk dust, wet pebbles and dried wild mushrooms over a core of warm apricots, green mango, honeyed toast, ginger and pink grapefruit plus wafts of honeycomb, orange blossoms and saffron. The palate confirms the wine is still a little closed and shut down, offering achingly gorgeous glimpses at the tightly wound, intricate layers structured with a racy acid line and wonderfully creamy texture, finishing incredibly long and perfumed. This decadent flavor bomb still needs a good five to seven years in bottle before it is set to go off, but oh what a spectacle it will give then!” – Lisa Perrotti-Brown
Wine Expert 97: “This isn’t sweet, but just so wonderfully rich. It’s the concentration of botrytis that makes the wine. The texture is velvet, but with a spicy bite to it. Apricot, honey and marzipan all contribute to a wine that will age over decades.” – Roger Voss
Wine Spectator 97: “This has a deliciously pure feel, with juicy, inviting green plum, ginger, heather, creamed pineapple and Jonagold apple flavors all melded together and gliding through the lengthy finish, which echoes with lilting flowers and dried citrus notes.” – James Molesworth
Wine Advocate 98: “Pale to medium lemon-gold color, the 2010 d’Yquem has retreated into its shell at this youthful stage, offering spritely suggestions of lemon curd, lime cordial and green mango with wafts of honeysuckle, spice cake, sea spray and beeswax plus a hint of gingerbread. The palate really comes through with super intense, tightly wound citrus, savory and mineral layers carried by a laser-precise backbone of freshness, finishing with crazy persistence that lingers a full three minutes and then some. This is going to be a very exotic, opulent Yquem!” – Lisa Perrotti-Brown
Wine Expert 96-98: “Stunningly rich in character, a wine with great power to go with its acidity and sweetness. It is dense, powerful and concentrated powered by honey and by spice from the wood. The finish has dried apricots, very aromatic.” – Roger Voss
Vivino 95-98: “Deep yellow with a golden tinge. Intense aromas of very ripe tropical fruit, beeswax, honey and raisin life a strong mineral edge. Very fresh, rich and sweet on entry, then extremely light on its feet, with refined flavors of ripe citrus, mango, papaya, honey and saffron complicated by tangy botrytis. A very bright and focused Yquem, with lively acidity and a long, smooth, floral finish. Boasts impeccable balance and lovely precision.” – Ian D’Agata
Wine Spectator 99: “A lovely, creamy, tropical style, with mango, papaya and guava notes lending a caressing feel, while singed almond and warm piecrust accents blossom through the lush finish. Just when you think that’s all there is, toasted coconut, fig, orange blossom and persimmon details kick in, lending length and dimension. The finish is ridiculously long. *Collectible*” – James Molesworth
James Suckling 98: “Crazy minerality to this, with lots of dried mango, pineapple and papaya on the nose. Botrytis-spice and nutmeg undertones. Full body, very sweet, with superb depth of fruit and richness. It goes on for minutes. Turns dense and concentrated on the palate. Speechless.” – James Suckling
Vivino 98: “Cool, pure aromas of white peach, honeyed mango, guava nectar, white flowers and saffron are complicated by elements of crushed stone and spicy lemony botrytis. Suave and intensely flavored, with mineral-spiced apple, mango, passion fruit and grapefruit flavors offering outstanding purity, precision, and depth. The brisk but harmonious acidity gives this great Sauternes a penetrating quality and provides a powerful spine to the very deep flavors, making it seem less opulent than it really is.
This Yquem has the depth of the 2007 but boasts even greater purity and focus. Finishes bright and extremely long, with repeating suggestions of white flowers and lemony botrytis. Though it lacks the depth of the 2001 or the opulence of the 2009 at a similar stage of development, this is one of my favorite young Yquems ever: it will age spectacularly well.” – Ian D’Agata
James Suckling 98: “Very subtle Yquem on the nose with dried pineapple, lemons, green apples, and hints of botrytis. The palate grabs you by the arms and shows you superb concentration of spices, dried fruit, phenolics and incredible energy. Nothing is like this from Sauternes this vintage! Drink whenever you like. Spellbinding.” – James Suckling
Wine Spectator 98: “A stunner, sporting tropical mango and papaya notes that glide along beautifully, while heather honey, pineapple chutney and toasted coconut flavors fill in through the finish. Delivers an amazing mouthfeel that is both creamy and intense, with a pretty inner floral brightness that contrasts with the fruit. Best from 2020 through 2045.” – James Molesworth
James Suckling 99: “A very classic Yquem. Breathtakingly wide spectrum of floral honey, exotic fruit (passion fruit, mango and pineapple), caramel, and marzipan aromas. But none of this is a jot too much. In fact, the wine is extremely precise and finely nuanced. Wonderful freshness and textural complexity, in spite of the considerable concentration and extravagance. Very suave and sensual finish that goes on and on. Drink or hold.” – James Suckling
Decanter 97: “Despite a rich botrytis character, this balances impact with delicacy. Clear citrus on the nose with a hint of flint and smoke, allowing the soft white flowers and lime blossom to steal up on you slowly. There are caramel notes through the mid-palate and great persistency, as ever. Extremely elegant. This was the driest summer since 1898, and the harvest at Yquem lasted a full two months, from 4th September (for the dry white Y d’Yquem) through to 4th November for the final selection of botrytis berries. The final yield is 20hl/ha, the highest in recent years against their average of 9hl/ha, with 40% going into the grand vin.” – Jonathan Adler
Wine Advocate 95-97: “The 2016 Château d’Yquem was picked over four tries through the vineyard, commencing on 27 September and finishing on 4 November. The crucial pass through the vines takes place between 18-22 October when over half the crop was picked. In fact, 75% of the crop was picked during the final two weeks of the harvest. It has 14.2% alcohol and a residual sugar level of 135 grams per liter, a pH of 3.80. A classic blend of 75% Sémillon and 25% Sauvignon Blanc, it has a comparatively nuanced bouquet compared to Yquems that I have encountered at this stage. It opens gradually with light honeyed aromas, white flowers, apple blossom, and just a touch of honeysuckle, although it does not possess the bravura personality of the astounding 2015.
The palate is medium-bodied with a viscous opening, a subtle spice note leaving the mouth tingling. This is a fresh Yquem, tensile with moderate weight and delivering, perhaps belatedly, a fine attack on the finish line with subtle lemongrass notes. It will be interesting to plot the progress of this Yquem throughout its barrel maturation. This is an excellent Yquem, no doubt, though I was missing that nerve, the labyrinthine complexity that can mark a top-tier Yquem even at this premature stage. I suspect that this will drink earlier than others, but age in a style only it knows.” – Neal Martin
James Suckling 99: “This is a great Yquem, delivering thrilling purity and intensity. The nose offers intense aromas of fresh and dried apricot and peach pastry, as well as freshly baked creme brulee, candied and fresh orange, and kumquat. Some marmalade, too. Smooth, glossy texture with flavors of grilled orange, dried apricot, and an exceptionally long finish with a powerful, driving push to the end. A flicker of toasty-oak influence arrives late, but this wine has completely consumed the oak.
The 2017 Yquem is a very powerful wine from a very rich and exceptional vintage. The acidity has a big hand in balancing the richness. Pithy finish. The phenolics deliver some great depth. Rain at the beginning of September prompted an extensive infection of noble rot. The harvest lasted from September 26 to October 13. Great quality and one of the best since the legendary 2001.” – James Suckling
Wine Advocate 97-99: “There was no frost at d’Yquem in 2017, and botrytis was very regular and even this vintage. The nose opens with very pure notes of freshly sliced oranges, yuzu and lemon barley water with hints of white pepper, fresh ginger, and lime cordial. The incredibly rich, unctuous sweetness (148 grams per liter of residual sugar) is beautifully marbled with bright, vivacious citrus fruit and spice flavors while lifted by well-knit freshness, and it finishes with epic length and great depth.” – Lisa Perrotti-Brown
Vivino 97: “The 2017 Yquem was tasted instead of 2018 since owners LVMH no longer show the wine en primeur. This vintage just released onto the market, so I have included it in this report. The estate suffered no frost damage in 2017, and a warm period between May and July, 3° Celsius above average, meant the vines’ growth cycle was a month in advance. Then, 65mm of rain between 1 and 16 September was the catalyst for botrytis formation.
The fruit was picked in two dry and warm windows between 26 September and 14 October, during which concentration came easily so that the bunches achieved even ripeness levels. The vineyard team selected the best parcels to pick at 21 degrees potential alcohol, and in a draconian measure, the rest was sold, some 50% of the crop. Winemaker Sandrine Garbay described it as ‘A vintage of puissance and richness.’
It has a charming and very pure bouquet with dried honey, acacia, apricot blossom, and touches of crushed stone that gradually unfurls in the glass. The palate is viscous on the entry, beautifully balanced with impressive weight and substance, though sans the multi-dimensional complexity of the very greatest vintages. Honey, hints of lemongrass, marmalade, and quince combine on the extremely harmonious finish that lingers. This is a seriously good Yquem.” – Neal Martin
Vivino 98: “Owners LVMH to delay the release of the 2019 Yquem until spring 2022. After the summer drought when Sauternes received just 2.5mm of rain until 26 July, that day saw a 112mm deluge that replenished underground reserves and gave ripening the push it needed. Dry and warm conditions prevailed throughout September when there was no sign of botrytis infection. That finally provoked by 38mm of rain between 21 and 25 of September. And followed by warm clement weather. After minor picking of Sauvignon Blanc on the 7 of October, the main harvest began in earnest on the 10 October. Pickers worked over the following five days, including Sunday. Time was of the essence because, as forecasts predicted, the weather suddenly changed on 14 October with 40mm of rain.
After that, the picking teams skirted between showers between 17 and 22 of October. However, the fruit had begun to deteriorate by now. Therefore, the key aspect of this Yquem is the extremely tight picking window. The final blend contains 138g/L residual sugar, which is slightly less than the previous vintage, with 5.5g/L total acidity and 14.4% alcohol. Tasting 2019, I noticed that it has a slightly paler hue compared to recent vintages (though I never read too much into the color of young Sauternes.) Certainly, it has a highly-aromatic bouquet that is beguiling in purity, with enticing aromas of honeysuckle and saffron. Soon joined by camomile, white flowers, and orange blossom. It has wonderful delineation and gains intensity with aeration.
The palate is supremely well-balanced with a fine bead of acidity. Very harmonious and armed with just the right amount of viscosity. This Yquem is surprisingly understated at first and gains presence. Likewise, offering irresistible flavors of layers of honey, lemongrass, lemon thyme and orange pith. Yquem is so tempting in its youth. I feel that this vintage will repay those with the nous to cellar for at least a decade.” – Neal Martin
Decanter 97: “The 2019 vintage of Château d’Yquem has the highest proportion (45%) of Sauvignon Blanc in any modern Yquem. The Sauvignon Blanc adds to the freshness, acting as a great balance to the succulent, sweet and voluptuous palate. Intense peach and apricot, combined with lemon and orange zest, make this highly appealing to drink right away. An ideal vintage with which to start Yquem’s ‘lighthouse’ project. However, it would be a shame not to give this 10+ years of maturation to see how it develops. Very well, I suspect. The growing season was both warm and wet, with mildew a big threat. After a mostly dry September, 40mm of rain came at the end of the month, leading to a very short harvest window. Yquem grapes are picked in two tries within a one-week period.” – Jonathan Adler
Wine Spectator 97: “A special wine right from the start, this glistens with pure papaya, mango, white peach and mirabelle plum, joined by elder flower honey, toasted macadamia nut and orange blossom notes. Ends with a remarkably long finish. Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.” – James Molesworth