Today’s release of Chateau d’Yquem is the first since 2011 as the 2012 was declassified. The 2013 vintage was harvested over a month period, starting in late September, in good conditions that were excellent for botrytis development. As ever draconian measures were used in the vineyards, resulting in 40% of the crop making it into final blend; less than 6,000 cases. The blend in 2013 is 70% Semillon and 30% Sauvignon Blanc, which reflects more of the latter than normal. 2013 d’Yquem has received uniform praise from all critics with 95-97 points from Neal Martin, 98-99 from James Suckling, 95-98 from the Wine Spectator, 97 from the Wine Enthusiast and 19+ from Jancis Robinson.
Chateau d’Yquem is considered the best and most well-known sweet wine in the world. It was the only wine classified as Premier Cru Superieur in the 1855 classification and the only Grand Cru Sauternes, therefore, unlike the five First Growths it has no rival in its class.
It is located 15 miles to the south of the city of Bordeaux and the picturesque Chateau occupies the highest point in Sauternes. The vineyard is planted solely with Semillon (80%) and Sauvignon Blanc (20%) grapes. Only fully botrytized grapes are used and it takes an entire vine to produce just one single glass of wine.
“Y” de Yquem 2014
Today also marks the release of the 2014 “Y” (pronounced “ee-grek) d’Yquem. In 2014, Sauternes are utterly superb, the Indian summer creating grapes that are ripe and balanced with fresh acidity. “Y” is a unique wine made from the same vines as Chateau d’Yquem, with the same meticulous methods and standards, although the grapes are picked and the wine fashioned differently. “Y” was traditionally made at the end of the harvest, from the last bunches on the vines. These grapes were affected with a different level of Botrytis cinerea, yet never higher than 15% potential alcohol. It is a wine of immense quality, produced with an equal blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. It is stylistically a dry wine, with a touch of sweetness and plenty of complexity.
Chateau d’Yquem 2013, 6×75, £1,200 – 95-97 Pts
Neal Martin, Wine Advocate, 95-97 Pts
Firstly, you notice the color, which is a touch deeper than recent vintages at this stage. The bouquet is quite honeyed and rich for Yquem at this early juncture, with subtle scents of peach skin, white flowers, and a puff of chalk and frangipane. The palate is viscous on the entry, all about the texture at first, coating the mouth with luscious botrytized fruit. There are touches of Seville orange marmalade, fresh apricot, a hint of spice and passion fruit. This is imbued with impressive depth and weight, perhaps an Yquem that is determined to make an impression after last year-s absence. It might not possess the finesse of a top flight Yquem, but it has immense power and persistency.
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