1989 d'Yquem

100
DEC
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Product ID
1989-dyquem

Wine Critic Reviews for 1989 d'Yquem

This took home the audience award at the 67 Pall Mall tasting that I was hosting, with good reason. What a brilliant example of why Sauternes should be left to gather nuance and to shed its more exuberant, fattier early years before opening. This is just a masterclass in the layers and complexity that you find in fully mature Yquem; saffron, truffle, pineapple, quince, lime, apricots and lemon. Hugely persistent with a squeeze of scraping slate acidity through the final few minutes that gives a dry but mouthwatering finish. It is clearly in its tertiary phase in terms of the type of aromatics, and the beautiful amber, rose-gold colour, but there is no sense that it is beginning to run out of steam. A concentrated, gloriously balanced Yquem that has decades ahead of it, and fully justifies the reputation of the vintage. Count Alexandre Lur Saluces was heading up the estate at the time. Drinking Window 2021 - 2040.

Decanter | 100 DEC
The 1989 Yquem is probably the best and most consistent of the triumvirate at the end of the decade. Two bottles tasted at 30 years of age give me no reason to alter that opinion. Limpid gold in color, slightly lighter than the 1988, it has a vivacious bouquet of gorgeous orange blossom, tinned apricot, quince jelly and wild heather, all delivered with impressive clarity. The palate is cohesive, pure and exquisitely balanced, sporting just the right amount of viscosity (less than the 1990). It bursts with tangerine, white peach, saffron and fresh fig, flecks of Seville orange marmalade appearing on the finish. This is Yquem flirting with its very best, and you never know – it could get even better with age. Tasted at Hide restaurant in London.

Vinous Media Neal Martin | 98 VM
The favorite sweet wine of millionaires, Chateau d'Yquem has, not unexpectedly, turned in a brilliant effort with their newly released 1989. It is a large-scaled, massively rich, unctuously-textured wine that should evolve effortlessly for a half century or more. It does not reveal the compelling finesse and complexity of the 1988 or 1986, but it is a far heavier, richer wine than either of those vintages. It is reminiscent of the 1976, with additional fat and glycerin. The wine is extremely alcoholic and rich, with a huge nose of smoky, honey-covered coconuts and overripe pineapples and apricots. As with most young vintages of Yquem, the wine's structure is barely noticeable. These wines are so highly extracted and rich yet approachable young, it is difficult to believe they will last for 50 or more years. The 1989 is the richest Yquem made in the eighties, and it has an edge in complexity over the powerhouse 1983. It remains to be seen whether this wine will develop the extraordinary aromatic complexity possessed by the promising 1988 and 1986 Yquems. Last tasted 11/97.

Robert Parker | 97 RP
Very classy and beautiful, packed with botrityzed flavors. Marvelous blend of vanilla, cream, tobacco-box notes, with a lot of oak on it for now but also loads of pure, clean and elegant fruit. An infant that will age for a long time.--Yquem vertical. Best after 2020. 12,500 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 97 WS

Wine Details on 1989 d'Yquem

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Producer Chateau d'Yquem: Often referred to as “Liquid Gold,” Chateau d’Yquem has become synonymous with excellence, perfection, and prestige. The Chateau has endured a long history of complexity and conflict. Its origins date back to the middle ages when it belonged to the King of England. Many events took place that are both complex and feudal; however, in 1593 the French Crown under Charles VII granted Jacques Sauvage, the descendent of a local noble family, tenure over Yquem. In 1711 the family finally enjoyed sole ownership, building the Chateau that is revered and respected today.

This epic saga has many contributing factors that aided in the shaping of this infamous Chateau through family tragedy, world wars and unfortunate legal battles. In 1785 Francoise Josephine de Sauvage became a widow after her newly wed husband died in a horse-riding accident, thrusting her to the head of the family and of the Chateau. The task was met with extraordinary acumen. The success of its bottlings had already gained recognition by many connoisseurs such as Thomas Jefferson, serving as a bright spot in its ill-fated past.

Yquem would face many more challenges throughout its history; enduring two World Wars, in which it served as a military hospital. Family disputes led to the sale of the Estate to LVMH. Multiple legal battles developed into a tempestuous relationship between the family and its buying partner. After two years of court battles, the court arranged for LVMH to purchase the remaining shares of the property.

Today, Yquem continues its legacy as perhaps the greatest wine residing in Sauternes. Great wines are not born just anywhere, by accident. A unique set of climatic and geological conditions combine to form a rare equilibrium. The soil in Yquem’s vineyard is warm and dry, accumulating heat due to the smooth flat pebbles and course gravel which collect the suns warmth. There is a good water reserve in the subsoil, thanks to the numerous springs that dwell on the Estate. The terroir is at the highest elevation in Sauternes awarding the vineyard with a unique micro-climate and allowing winds from the east to move through the vineyard helping to remove unwanted moisture. This is especially crucial later in the growing season, as the noble rot sets in.

Noble rot, otherwise known as Botrytis Cinerea, is a fungus that attacks the grapes. The very unique and specific climate of this region allows for this magical process to occur. The grapes become shriveled, dehydrated and concentrated with extraordinary characteristics. The byproduct is a honey filled, tropical, roasted nut and exotic elixir that is otherworldly. Pineapple, peaches, flowers, orange, vanilla, butterscotch, coconut and honey infiltrate the nose and palate creating an experience that is euphoric.

The vineyards are planted with 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. The blend creates its flagship, Chateau d’Yquem and its second wine “Y.” The grapes are hand-picked berry by berry and due to intensive sorting practices and the process of noble rot, the yields at Yquem are extremely low. The flagship produces a mere 10,000 bottles annually.

Throughout its tumultuous history, Yquem has never failed to shine, producing wines of unrivaled quality. Yquem is the definition of perfection, perseverance, and a timeless struggle for dominance. This tremendous Chateau has risen to the “Gold” standard and sits atop the whole world of wine as one of the finest examples of winemaking at its pinnacle.
Region Sauternes: The white wines of Bordeaux are sometimes sadly looked over, as the region is primarily known for their almost absurdly powerful and delicious reds. However, if you like a refreshing, sweet treat on a late summer evening or you wish to complete your journey through Bordeaux's finest wines, you should not skip a Sauternes bottle or two. Made from a carefully balanced mixture of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grape varietals, this wine boasts an almost supernatural sweetness. This sugary nature can be attributed to the presence of noble rot that can cause the grapes to visually resemble raisins in a way.

We would completely understand if a single taste of fine Sauternes brought visible tears of joy to your eyes, as the flavor is just that magnificent. As you swirl the liquid gold in your mouth, an orchestral performance echoes on, with a grounding double bass of honey and the sharpness and acidity of a passionate violin solo. Notes of peach, apricot and nut punctuate the experience, sending you sky-high with inspiration and pure, emotional bliss. Let us open the door to a whole new world together.
Country France: Words fail us when trying to adequately portray France's place in the world of wine. It's downright impossible to imagine what wine would feel and taste like had it not been for France's many, many viticultural pioneers. Fine wine is the blood of France's vigorously beating heart, and it finds itself in many aspects of French culture. With a viticultural history that dates all the way back to the 6th century BC, France now enjoys its position as the most famous and reputable wine region on the planet. If you have a burning passion for masterfully crafted, mouth-watering, mind-expanding wines, then regular visits to France are probably already in your schedule, and for a good reason.
Type of Wine Dessert White: In the minds of many wine lovers, no food pairing matches the appeal of a dessert and an appropriate dessert wine. For those of us with a pronounced sweet tooth, dessert whites come in many shapes, sizes, and, most importantly, varietals. Whether you're dealing with an Austrian Pinot Blanc or a sweet German Riesling, it's hard to resist for long.
Varietal Sauternes Blend: Twenty-five miles southeast of the city of Bordeaux, in the southern end of the Graves winegrowing district, a magical event takes place – harvest season in Sauternes. Each year, beginning in September, the white grape varietals Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle become the star performers in an otherworldly transformation that takes winemaking to a completely magnificent level. Of course, this event could not take place would it not be for nature to play its part.

A unique set of climatic and geological conditions combine to form a rare equilibrium. A ghostly fog descends upon the region each morning, created by the differing water temperatures of the cool Ciron tributary as it flows into the warm Garonne River near Barsac and Preignac. The humid mornings give way to warm afternoon sun, encouraging the proliferation of Botrytis Cinerea.

Approximately 2,000 hectares of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle apron the region’s vineyards of Sauternes. Semillon is the most widely planted, with roughly 75% of the distribution in the vineyards, Sauvignon Blanc is planted to a little less than 25%, while Muscadelle inhabits the remaining hectares (Muscadelle is able to contract Botrytis Cinerea but not to the same effect, thus being used in miniscule amounts). The three allowable grapes (by AOC law) thrive in a terroir of varying degrees of chalk, limestone, sand, clay and gravel which rest over an alluvial bed. The soil in Sauternes is warm and dry, accumulating heat due to the smooth flat pebbles and course gravel which collect the suns warmth.

The Sauternes’ plateau reaches elevations of 3 to 80 meters, awarding the location with a unique set of micro-climates and allowing winds from the east to move through the vineyards helping to remove unwanted moisture. This is especially crucial later in the growing season, as the noble rot sets in.

Noble rot, otherwise known as Botrytis Cinerea, is a fungus that attacks the grapes. The very unique and specific climate of this region allows for this magical process to occur. The grapes become shriveled, dehydrated and concentrated with extraordinary characteristics. The byproduct is a honey filled, tropical, roasted nut and exotic elixir that is otherworldly. Pineapple, peaches, flowers, orange, vanilla, butterscotch, coconut and honey infiltrate the nose and palate creating an experience that is euphoric. Typical Sauterne blends are golden yellow in color and turn amber when aged.

Due to the immense risks taken during the harvesting season, where the possibility of grey rot (grapes become overly saturated with moisture) could occur or the complete absence of noble rot, they are the most expensive wines in the world to produce. This viticultural hazard combined with the “gold” quality liquid commands top-dollar prices.

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