An extraordinary effort, Yquem's 1990 is a rich and fabulously superb, sweet wine. This wine also possesses lots of elegance and finesse. The wine's medium gold colour is accompanied by an exceptionally sweet nose of honeyed tropical fruits, peaches, coconut, and apricots. High quality, subtle toasty oak is well-integrated. The wine is massive on the palate, with layers of intensely ripe botrytis-tinged, exceptionally sweet fruit. Surprisingly well-integrated acidity, and a seamless, full-bodied power and richness have created a wine of remarkable harmony and purity. Certainly it is one of the richest Yquems I have ever tasted, with 50-100 years of potential longevity. An awesome Yquem! Anticipated maturity: 2003-2050+ 99 points, The Wine Advocate.
Sauternes is home to arguably the most prestigious and long-lived sweet wines in the world. Located 65 km south of the city of Bordeaux at the southern tip of the Graves, the appellation has 2100 ha of vineyards planted on flat, alluvial gravels overlying thick layers of limestone. Although viewed as one appellation, Sauternes actually consists of five communes; Barsac, Bommes, Fargues, Preignanc, and Sauternes with Barsac also a designated appellation in its own right. What makes Sauternes unique is its special mesoclimate caused by the confluence of the Ciron and the Garonne rivers.
The region experiences evening mists in autumn which set in until late morning and are subsequently burnt off by warm sunny afternoons. It is precisely these conditions that provide the ideal environment for the growth of botrytis cinerea – a fungus that attacks the grapes, causing them to dehydrate leaving sweet shrivelled fruit, ideal for sweet wine production. Sauternes wines are made predominantly from Sémillon with Sauvignon Blanc with small amounts of Muscadelle. Golden in colour with enticing aromas and flavours of honey, acacia, stone-fruit, candied citrus and marmalade, classic Sauternes is rich, unctuous and beautifully balanced by fresh acidity. Capable of long-ageing, the wines turn deep amber with age, taking on more tertiary caramel flavours over time.