The Château Yquem 2014 was picked over nine weeks this year, with one-quarter of the grapes picked prior to 15 September. It delivers 134 grams per litre residual sugar and 7.3 grams per litre tartaric acid, with a pH 3.60. It has a captivating bouquet (I know... I know... what else were you expecting). But it entrances with its pure, wild honey notes mixed with almond and white chocolate scents, bestowed with beguiling delineation and focus. The palate is very poised with the acidity nigh on perfect. Occasionally an Yquem only reveals its components parts at this early juncture, necessitates conjecture. However the 2014 has a sense of harmony and completeness already, as if the élevage is merely there to usher it on to its finished state. There is undeniably great depth here, perhaps less conspicuous than other vintages because of that silver thread of acidity: notes of lemon sherbet, orange zest, shaved ginger and again, a few 'flakes' of white chocolate. It is extremely long with tenderness rather than power on the finish. It's... what we call in the trade, 'the business'. 96-98 points, The Wine Advocate (4/2015).
The 2014 d'Yquem is exceptionally beautiful for so many reasons, not the least of which is a striking juxtaposition of bright, floral/citrus notes of the early picks, before botrytis had set in, with richer, more tropical-inflected nuances that resulted from the later picks, where rot had developed. In other words, the 2014 is a wine of sublime contrasts, which is one of the qualities that often define the truly great wines. Lemon peel, coconut, jasmine, peach jam and brioche are some of the aromas and flavors that are present today, but above all else it is the wine's textural finesse that elevates the 2014 into the stratosphere. The precise, understated finish is striking. There isn't much else to say except that the 2014 Yquem is a real stunner. 94-97 points, Vinous (4/2015).
Very subtle Yquem on the nose with dried pineapple, lemons, green apples and hints of botrytis. The palate grabs you by the arms and shows you superb concentration of spices, dried fruit, phenolics and incredible energy. Nothing is like this from Sauternes this vintage! Drink whenever you like. Spellbinding. 98 points, jamessuckling.com (2/2017).
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.