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2019 Chateau d'Yquem

2019 Chateau d'Yquem

98 VM

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From the critics:

97 DEC

96 WS

96 JS

Critic Reviews

The 2019 vintage of Château d’Yquem has the highest proportion (45%) of Sauvignon Blanc in any modern Yquem. The Sauvignon Blanc adds to the freshness, acting as a great balance to the succulent, sweet and voluptuous palate. Intense peach and apricot, combined with lemon and orange zest, make this highly appealing to drink right away – an ideal vintage with which to start Yquem’s ‘lighthouse’ project. However, it would be a shame not to give this 10+ years maturation to see how it develops. Very well, I suspect. The growing season was both warm and wet, with mildew a big threat. After a mostly dry September, 40mm rain came at the end of the month, leading to a very short harvest window. All of the Yquem grapes were picked in two tries within a one-week period. Residual Sugar: 138g/L. Drinking Window 2025 - 2060.

Decanter | 97 DEC
Distinctive, with jasmine and elderflower notes leading off, followed by a racy set of white peach, white ginger and lemon shortbread notes. Feels pure and streamlined through the very long finish. A beautiful wine. Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. Drink now through 2028. 833 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 96 WS
A juicy Yquem with tarte tartin, salted caramel and dried oranges on the nose and palate. Medium-to full-bodied and medium-sweet with a creamy and round texture. Bright and vivid. Lovely texture. Long. Evolves to caramel and burnt vanilla sugar. 55% semillon and 45% sauvignon. 138g/L residual. Drink or hold.

James Suckling | 96 JS

Wine Details for 2019 Chateau d'Yquem

Type of Wine Dessert
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.

Country France : Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.



For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.



France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.



France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.



With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.


Region Bordeaux : Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice.

The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
Subregion Sauternes
Appellation Lur Saluces

Overview

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.

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