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Legendary Chateau d’Yquem has been highly exalted since the middle ages when it was owned by the King of England who was also the Duke of Aquitaine. Today though it is owned by luxury conglomerate LVMH. It’s famed as the world’s not just Bordeaux’s finest sweet wine capable of ageing for 100 years or more. It was the only Sauternes rated as a premier cru supérieur in the famous 1855 classification.
The key to great Sauternes is noble rot or botrytis cinerea, a fungus that grows in damp autumnal mornings but is followed by warm afternoons that dry and dehydrate the grape, concentrating the sugars and acids. D’Yquem has a unique microclimate creating perfect conditions for this on its 113 hectare vineyard, split about 75/%25% between Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Picking is done in several passes, selecting individual berries with the right degree of ripeness and botrytis.
Yields are a minuscule 8 to 10hl per ha, or about a glass per vine. By comparison dry white Bordeaux yields are about five or six times as much.
Pale to medium gold colored, the 2007 dYquem delivers powerful scents of tropical fruits—dried mangoes and pineapple paste—accented by acacia honey, toasted almonds and woodsmoke with hints of chalk dust, kettle corn and lime blossom. The palate reveals one of those vintages that shape-shifts into an apparently drier style than it is, largely thanks to its uber-racy backbone of freshness and layered mineral-inspired flavors, finishing with a regal, satin-textured savoriness. Difficult to resist now, this will be one of those Rip Van Winkle vintages that can be predicted to cellar not just for decades but for generations.
98+ Robert Parker, Aug 2019
17.5 Jancis Robinson, Sept 2019