2006: Sweet crème pâtissière on the nose. Solid and very rich and impressive. Real depth and unctuousness and complexity. This is great stuff. Long and layered. So long! Complex. 19/20 points, Jancis Robinson MW (1/2010).
2006: This has lovely flavours of apricot, dried tangerine, pineapple and papaya rushing along, supported by hazelnut, frangipane and coconut notes. Despite the depth, it's very, very pure, with filigreed acidity carrying the long, long finish. Drink now through 2037. 96 points, James Molesworth, winespectator.com (2012).
2006: …a great Yquem… beeswax and lanolin merging with honeyed fruit, dried quince and marzipan. The palate is medium-bodied, viscous, a dash of spice on the entry with very good weight in the mouth. There is still that lovely saltiness on the finish that leaves you begging for another sip – completing a long-term Yquem that is only just finishing its first couple of chapters. 95 points, Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (4/2016).
2006: Wonderfully fresh aromas of pineapple, coconut, caramel, vanilla and spices lifted by a floral element. Silky on entry, then dense but almost magically light on its feet, thanks to penetrating acidity that gives sharp definition to the tight, impressively concentrated lemon, pineapple and coconut flavours. Racy rather than thick… Finishes with a captivating note of beurre salé. A wonderfully pure and refined wine... 95 points, Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar (6/2009).
1996: This leans toward the tropical side, with mango and guava notes out front, while maple, date, blood orange and citrus oil flavours fill in behind. The finish kicks into another gear, taking off with honeysuckle, orange blossom and frangipane accents. Has almost unbridled power today, while maintaining serious cut. A very impressive showing in a rather overlooked vintage. 96 points, James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (7/2014).
1996: …there is a lot going on. Light gold with a tight but promising nose of roasted hazelnuts intermixed with crème brulée, vanilla beans, honey, orange marmalade, and peaches, this medium to full-bodied offering reveals loads of power in its restrained, measured personality. There is admirable acidity, weight, texture, and purity in this impeccably made Yquem... Anticipated maturity: 2012-2060. 95 points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (4/2003).
1996: Deep orangey gold. Masses of botrytis exhibited on the rich nose full of pungent lanolin. The finish was fresh and clean and the sweetness, if on a scale of 1 to 10, would be about 7. Lots of weight and presence – really very majestic. No hurry whatsoever to drink this. Jancis Robinson MW (5/2015).
1986: There is no other wine in the world like it, and there is no other luxury wine that can possibly justify its price as much as Yquem. The remarkable amount of painstaking labour necessary to produce the nectar known as Yquem is almost impossible to comprehend. This is a fascinating effort… Several highly respected Bordeaux negociants who are Yquem enthusiasts claim the 1986 Yquem is the greatest wine produced at the property since the legendary 1937. Its enthralling bouquet of pineapples, sautéed hazelnuts, vanillin, and ripe apricots is breathtaking. Compellingly concentrated, the breadth as well as depth of flavour seemingly know no limits. This full-bodied, powerful, yet impeccably balanced Yquem should provide memorable drinking for 40-55 more years... another winemaking tour de force. 98 points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (1/1998).
1986: ...continues to cruise at high altitude, an effortless Yquem that if anything is improving at nigh 25-years of age. It has a glorious, pure, honeyed bouquet with patisserie notes, almond flakes and coconut. The palate is supremely well balanced with great weight and poise, the acidity dialled to perfect… it is drinking perfectly now and will continue to cruise for many years yet. 95 points, Neal Martin, Wine Journal, robertparker.com (4/2012).
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.