x
  • Country ranking ?

    210
  • Producer ranking ?

    12
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2050
  • Food Pairing

    Enjoy without food

There are few wines that can make yesterday and tomorrow the present and one ́s own physical being disapear. What remains is an empty, space momentarily possessed by the sense of taste so completely and powerfully that the whole of the surrounding world bows to that one perfect sensation. It is

almost impossible to describe that fleeting moment, perhaps because it is not possible to return to it with the help of one ́s thoughts or memories. Or maybe because that moment is so separated from everything else, as if it never existed. The only proof or memory of that moment is the feeling of serenity and entirety it leaves behind. If one could put it in just one word it would be: growth.

The possibility to ”grow” as a human being by tasting wines is a thought worth exploring, and I believe that anyone who has tasted Château d ́Yquem from 1921 will understand what I mean.

The year 1921 is, in my opinion, the best that Sauternes experienced in the last century. Looking at the weather conditions, the year started normally, but from the beginning of March a drought (the rainfall was less than a quarter of normal) and a burning heat starting in June (4°C above average) made the summer the driest and hottest in Yquem for 75 years. Fortunately, August brought along some stormy days, and a new dry and hot period started again in September. The harvest started at Yquem on September 13th and lasted uninterrupted for a fabulous six and a half weeks. The crop was average in quantity but uniquely magnificent in quality.

I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to taste this unforgettable wine as many as six times during the last five years. Four times from a normal size château-bottling, once from a Van der Meulen-bottling, and this one from a rare château-bottled magnum.

The day had already been an unforgettable one, since I had had the pleasure of spending it in New York Soho at the studio of Sandy Skoglund, an artist I greatly admire. After an interesting and thought-provoking day we headed for a long dinner at Le Cirque on Madison Avenue; a restaurant I think is one of the city ́s best and where my friend had made the reservation more than a month earlier. We ended our grand dinner with this big-size Yquem which he had brought along with him.

The bottle was in exceptional condition and recorked in 1978. Level was top-shoulder. Decanted for 2 hours. Very dark, deep gold color, but not as dark as in the earlier normal size bottles. Fresh, vibrant and rich honeyed nose with flavours of crème brulée – pure pleasure. Delicious wine, it’s all there – a hard-to-describe contrast of nectar and the weightlessness is what makes this work. Very creamy, fat and intense wine with a taste of earth and hints of all kinds of baked luscious fruit flavours with some real backbone. Finish is so pure, clean and smooth..... This is what they drink in paradise.

by Nuikki

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The Story

The pleasure derived from tasting Yquem is difficult to describe.

It offers a myriad of well-balanced, complex flavours that generate even more harmonies over time. The impression that remains is reminiscent of a quote from Frédéric Dard "the silence that follows a piece by Mozart, in which the listener remains suffused with the music". This reflects the fact that Château d'Yquem stays on the palate for a remarkable long time, providing a unique, prolonged pleasure. There is a lovely expression in French to describe Yquem's tremendously long aftertaste: il fait la queue du paon, which means that it spreads out like a peacock's tail.

 

It is always difficult to describe wine-tasting experiences with any precision. The senses of sight, smell, taste and touch are all stimulated virtually at the same time. While gifted tasters can identify some of the aromas and flavours in a glass of Yquem in an effort to define its complexity, they never really succeed in communicating its essence or explaining its mystery. Mere analysis, whether chemical or organoleptic, is not sufficient to account for Yquem's greatness. Yquem tells a unique story... It starts with the bouquet. Although not always very outgoing in young vintages, it is marked by fruit (apricot, mandarin, and occasionally tropical fruit) and oak (vanilla and toasty aromas). Older vintages, on the other hand, have an extraordinarily complex fragrance as soon as the bottle is opened, with hints of dried fruit (dried apricot, prune, stewed fruit, and marmalade), spice (cinnamon, saffron, and liquorice), and even flowers (lime blossom, etc.). The first impression of Château d'Yquem on the palate is always very silky, and often sumptuous. It then fills out, "coating the palate". This fine wine has a strong, but never overbearing character, with great elegance and poise. It always maintains a balance between sugar and acidity (sweetness and freshness). A touch of bitterness can also contribute to the overall harmony. Château d'Yquem's aftertaste is legendary, and it tells another story, which lasts and lasts…

Certain connoisseurs consider it outrageous to drink a young Yquem and believe that opening such a monumental wine before its thirtieth birthday is tantamount to a sacrilege. Others, on the contrary, think that Yquem can be enjoyed at all stages in its life.

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Vintage 1921

Weather was unusual this year, with unrelenting drought conditions. Furthermore, frost during bud break limited the potential crop. 38 mm of rain on the 1st of September were responsible for the propagation of botrytis. The harvest started early and lasted a long time, with potential alcohol varying from 14 to 30°, offering a good reflection of the complexity offered by Yquem's diverse terroir. 1921 Yquem is very rich, and arguably the finest of the 20th century.

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Average Bottle Price

2015 2014 2012 2010 2005
6 739€ +83.6% 3 671€ -52.0% 7 649€ +29.2% 5 922€ +22.0% 4 855€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

18 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep, Gold and Dark

ending

Endless, Lingering and Pure

flavors

Honey, Coffee, Vanilla, Creamy, Toasty and Mineral

nose

Open, Refined, Pure and Fresh

recommend

Yes

taste

Low alcohol content, Medium tannin, Well-structured, Concentrated, Perfectly balanced, Full-bodied, Fresh, Elegant, Firm, Medium-Sweet and Sweet tannins

Verdict

Outstanding and Masterpiece

Written Notes

Chateau bottled. This was the last year the Count Lur Saluces sold any wine in cask. Many of the surviving 1921 bottles are bottled by Van der Meulen in Belgium – these are inferior to the chateau-bottled versions. And here is the precise vintage report for the 1921 harvest at Chateau Yquem: In the spring, a sharp frost attacked the vine as it was sprouting. A lot of heat was then needed to obtain the perfect ripening and hoped-for concentration upon maturity. In 1921, conditions were just right. After the usual mid-August storm, the fine weather returned and continued until the fall, without being affected by the morning mists rising from the Garonne and the Ciron. The vines had never been watered so little, hence the unparalled richness and concentration of the grape juice. The pickers began work on September 13, and spent 39 days in the vineyard passing along each row five times. The ideal balance of 14-15 degrees of alcohol plus six degrees of potential alcohol (120 grams of sugar per litre) was easily obtained.
  • 87p
Vintage 1921 is considered as one of milestones in the history of the district. The wine here didn't quite match reputation of this vintage, but it can be explained by the fact, that "our" bottle was not château bottled. It was Belgian bottling, signed VanderMeulen. Orange brown. It displayed aroma of candied orange peel and real botrytis, big concentration, lot of nuances and had superb balance. Not quite a bull's eye, but anyway an impressive wine, which should last for 10 more years.
  • 94p

Information

Origin

Sauternes, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Good

Investment potential

Excellent

Fake factory

Serious

Glass time

2h

Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

94p
 Izak Litwar / The most important Scandinavian Bordeaux Critic, Pro (Denmark)  tasted  d'Yquem 1921  ( Château d'Yquem )

"Vintage 1921 is considered as one of milestones in the history of the district. The wine here didn't quite match reputation of this vintage, but it can be explained by the fact, that "our" bottle was not château bottled. It was Belgian bottling, signed VanderMeulen. Orange brown. It displayed aroma of candied orange peel and real botrytis, big concentration, lot of nuances and had superb balance. Not quite a bull's eye, but anyway an impressive wine, which should last for 10 more years."

1y 9d ago

87p
 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  d'Yquem 1921  ( Château d'Yquem )

"Tasting is over...the best wine for the event was Yquem 2001 -98 points."

6y 2m ago

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