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Yquem

Château d'Yquem is a Premier Cru Supérieur (Fr: "Superior First Growth") wine from the Sauternes, Gironde region in the southern part of the Bordeaux vineyards known as Graves. In the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855, Château d'Yquem was the only Sauternes given this rating, indicating its perceived superiority and higher prices over all other wines of its type. Yquem's success stems largely from the site's susceptibility to attack by "noble rot" (Botrytis cinerea).

Wines from Château d'Yquem are characterised by their complexity, concentration and sweetness. A relatively high acidity helps to balance the wine's sweetness. Another characteristic for which Château d'Yquem wines are known is theirlongevity. With proper care, a bottle will keep for a century or more. During this time, the fruity overtones will gradually fade and integrate with more complex secondary and tertiary flavours.

Since 1959 (though not every year), Château d'Yquem has also produced a dry white wine called Ygrec (Fr: the letter "Y"), made from an equal blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc.

The vineyard has 126 hectares (310 acres) in the Sauternes appellation, though only 100 hectares (250 acres) are in production at any time. Each year, vines from two to three hectares are grubbed up and left fallow for a year. Since grapes from newly planted vines are not worthy of the chateau name for five to seven years, about 20 hectares are held in reserve each year. The vines consist of 80% Sémillon and 20% Sauvignon blanc, though the latter's vigour implies the proportions are more nearly equal in the final wine.

Harvesting is carefully timed, and on average six tries through the vineyard are undertaken each year to ensure that only the botrytized grapes are selected. The yield averages nine hectolitres per hectare (2.5 acres), compared to the usual twelve to twenty hectolitres per hectare in Sauternes. The grapes are pressed three times and transferred to oak barrels for maturation over a period of about three years.

On average, 65,000 bottles are produced each year. In a poor vintage, the entire crop is deemed unworthy of bearing the Château's name and sold anonymously; this happened nine times in the 20th century: 1910, 1915, 1930, 1951, 1952, 1964, 1972, 1974, and 1992 and in the 21st century one time: 2012.

White

2005

Yquem

Bordeaux

96 NM

Mint 

6x75cl

0

IB

Still Wine

96 Neal Martin

Served from an ex-chateau bottle. The 2005 Chateau d’Yquem is similar to the 2006 in that it deserves aeration. The bouquet is well-defined, although there is clearly some new oak that will need another two or three years to fully integrate. The aromatics seem to show a little more botrytis than the 2006, richer and headier. The palate is unctuous on the entry, beautifully balanced and lacquers the mouth in pure honeyed fruit interlaced with white pepper, quince jus and nectarine. Comparing the two, the 2006 has a little more tension and race, although the 2005 has a touch more persistency. The 2006 may well turn out to be the better of the two vintages in the long run (hence the plus sign), although the 1995 is a Yquem with panache to spare. Drink now-2040. Tasted March 2014.


Price: £1,418.00

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