Parker 98 points: 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 labor necessary to produce the nectar known as Yquem is almost impossible to comprehend. This is a fascinating effort. With greater evidence of botrytis than the colossal 1983, but less power and alcohol, the 1986 Yquem tastes reminiscent of the 1975, only more precocious, as well as more concentrated. 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, sauteed hazelnuts, vanillin, and ripe apricots is breathtaking. Compellingly concentrated, the breadth as well as depth of flavor seemingly know no limits. This full-bodied, powerful, yet impeccably balanced Yquem should provide memorable drinking for 40-55 more years. Like the 1983, this is another winemaking tour de force. Anticipated maturity: 2000-2040.
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.