2011: This beautiful Sauternes offers intense aromatics packed with overripe pineapple drenched in honey, roasted nuts, apricots, nectarines, white peach, flowers, orange rind and honey in the complex perfume. Thick, rich and intense, with the viscosity of motor oil, along with tropical fruit dripping with honey and the perfect amount of acidity for the 144 grams of residual sugar to give this elixir lift, 2011 Chateau d’Yquem is majestic. 98-99 points, Jeff Leve, Wine Cellar Insider (4/2012).
2011: A lovely, creamy, tropical style, with mango, papaya and guava notes lending a caressing feel, while singed almond and warm piecrust accents blossom through the lush finish. Just when you think that's all there is, toasted coconut, fig, orange blossom and persimmon details kick in, lending length and dimension. The finish is ridiculously long. Best from 2020 through 2060. 99 points, James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (3/2014).
2011: Crazy minerality to this, with lots of dried mango, pineapple and papaya on the nose. Botrytis-spice and nutmeg undertones. Full body, very sweet, with superb depth of fruit and richness. It goes on for minutes. Turns dense and concentrated on the palate. Speechless. Better in 2019. 98 points, James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (1/2014).
2011: Light gold in colour, restrained but pure and noble, it offers an intense bouquet of honeysuckle, caramelized apricot and white peach with a subtle hint of toasty oak. It builds slowly but beautifully to a full-bodied wine with a long finish. This vintage is about restraint and perfect balance despite the 144 grams of residual sugar. Some vintages are more exuberant or flamboyant, but 2011 is racy and compelling. Of course, these wines can be drunk young, but expect the 2011 to age for 50-75+ years in a good cellar. 97 points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (9/2013).
2011: …scents of wild honey, honeysuckle and a touch of vanilla… refined, sedate and beautifully focused bouquet that does not need to show off. The palate displays superb weight in the mouth, even though at first it seems almost understated. Yet there is clearly a high level of spicy, botrytized fruit with notes of honey, orange zest and a touch of mandarin… a lesson in control, complexity and nuance… utterly seductive. Drink 2016-2040+ 96-98 points, Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (4/2012).
2011: ...incredible purity and beauty. Full body, with lovely character of mangos, pineapple, papaya, and honey. Goes on for minutes. The purity in this wine is phenomenal. Spicy with dried mushroom and ash undertones. Gorgeous and clean. Bright. 97-98 points, James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (4/2012).
2011: In a great year for Sauternes, this is the wine that stands out from the crowd. This was the fourth earliest vintage ever at Yquem to help retain freshness in the blend. It shows exotic spices, vanilla pod and citrus zest with notes of passionfruit and peach and a tangy, refreshing finish. 97 points, Tim Atken MW, timatkin.com (4/2012).
2011: Layered, voluptuous wine with great precision and very long finish. Same sugar levels as 2010 and in similar style with lifted acidity. Classic, majestic Yquem crafted to age for decades. 19/20 points, Jeannie Cho Lee, Decanter (4/2012).
2001: You may ask: what is the point? Another perfect score for the 2001 d'Yquem. Oh well, why not? This bottle, served blind, reinforced the sheer unadulterated brilliance of this legendary Sauternes now at 15 years old… It seems to be aging at a glacial pace, hardly changed since I last tasted it. The nose is like the throbbing engine of an Aston Martin Vantage, ready to go. It is so packed with intensity, perhaps a little more resinous than I recall, but with almost crystalline delineation. The palate is perfectly balanced and laden with botrytis, not as unctuous or as rich as say, the 2009 d'Yquem, yet with heavenly focus and a crescendo of flavours that take your breath away: acacia honey, yellow plum, white peach and orange sorbet. The startling thing is... this is just the opening act. 100 points, Neal Martin, Wine Journal (9/2016).
2001: This is so layered and intense on the palate with lemons and dried pineapple, mango and honey. Full body, very sweet, but it remains tangy and vibrant. Shows such amazing balance and intensity. Crazy finish. Hints of vanilla and apple purée. One of the greatest Yquems ever. All about purity here. 100 points, James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (9/2013).
2001: There are 10,000 cases of this perfect sweet white Bordeaux. The 2001 Yquem reveals a hint of green in its light gold colour. While somewhat reticent aromatically, with airing, it offers up honeyed tropical fruit, orange marmalade, pineapple, sweet crème brulée, and buttered nut-like scents. In the mouth, it is full-bodied with gorgeously refreshing acidity as well as massive concentration and unctuosity. Everything is uplifted and given laser-like focus by refreshing acidity. This large-scaled, youthful Yquem appears set to take its place among the most legendary vintages of the past, and will age effortlessly for 75+ years. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2100+ 100points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (4/2005).
2001: The greatest young Yquem I have ever tasted from bottle. Yellow, with a golden hue and an almost green tint. Intense aromas of botrytis, spices and blanched almonds follow through to honey, maple syrup, dried apricot and pineapple. Full-bodied, sweet, thick and powerful, with layers of fruit and a bright, lively finish. Coats the palate yet remains exciting. So balanced and refined, showing the pedigree that only this Sauternes estate can deliver. 100 points, James Suckling, Wine Spectator (11/2005).
2001: What a marvel this wine is! On the nose there is a sort of gingery spice (though nothing whatever like bacterial spoilage). Such intensity and tension. Great richness and creaminess combined with extreme liquid excitement. Stunning… very special wine. Unusually approachable. 20/20 points (!!!), Jancis Robinson MW (12/2015).
1991: …Chateau d’Yquem was actually not affected by the frosts like everywhere else in Bordeaux, damaging 30% of the vines, predicating a two-track ripening cycle. This was not too much of a problem to overcome since bunches are picked one by one… The nose displays moderate intensity with light waxy scents that would benefit from more vigour. The palate is well-balanced… this is a commendable Sauternes… it deserves a light applause considering the growing season. Drink now-2020. Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (3/2014).
1991: …crème brulée, roasted coffee, and sweet, honeyed pineapple and other assorted fruits. Full-bodied, unctuously-textured, and rich… Anticipated maturity: 2005-2040. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (04/1999).
1991: A vintage marked by frost on the April 21 that fortunately spared several plots of slope vineyards at Yquem. Summer was warm and dry, but September was rainy. The harvest was over in three passes which brought in only a small amount of grapes, but of very good quality. This experience shows what an advantage great terroirs have when spring frosts occur. In light of the weather that year, the calibre of 1991 Yquem exceeded our expectations, and benefited from a particularly fine summer. 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.