…particularly impressive for the vintage… superbly focused and beautiful on the nose, with sugared lemons, tropical fruit and maple syrup character. Full-bodied and thick, yet very fine… extremely sweet and long. 94 points, James Suckling, Wine Spectator.
…a particularly forward vintage of this superlative wine which showed all the richness and concentration that Yquem can muster... It stood up beautifully to the Roquefort served with it, cleverly and successfully sandwiched in sweet apple slices. Drink 2006-2035. 17.5/20 points, jancisrobinson.com (1/2008).
Yquem is produced in tiny quantities at a rate of one glass per vine. In an average year, the château makes only 130,000 bottles, and if you want to buy the current release, the widely praised 2001, it will cost you around £250 for 375ml. But don't despair. The honeyed, exotic, crème brûlée and pineapple-like 1999 Yquem is considerably cheaper at £66 per half-bottle… The Guardian (3/2007).
A year of excesses: above-average temperatures, heavy rain in July and September that miraculously spared Yquem, and a tropical month of August. The situation called for considerable patience, but this was rewarded in October with dry weather, and the crop was able to be picked in two passes. The grapes were concentrated and very pure. 1999 is a lucky vintage which, thanks to skilful winemaking, is one of the best of the 1990s. Chateau d’Yquem.
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.