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.
95-97 points, Neal Martin
70% Sémillon, 30% Sauvignon Blanc. RS 140 g/l – same as 2010 and 2011. Harvested over one month, in good conditions for Sauternes that were excellent for botrytis development. Pale gold – not as lustrous, perhaps, as you’d expect. Really intense nose – no shortcomings apparent here, the flavours are pure and complex and compelling. Marmalade, lime juice, treacle tart and a savoury note too – mushroom, mint, menthol. Beautiful elegance on the palate – wonderful sweetness with precise acidity.
19/20 points - Richard Hemming MW
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.