Tasted at the château, the 2005 Château d’Yquem delivers a similar performance as last year. Lucid in colour, the bouquet is detailed with very pure honey, vanilla and almond scents, still a little new oak to be fully assimilated but demonstrating superb focus. The palate is virtually identical to last year’s bottle : exquisite balance and perfectly judged acidity, but perhaps just gaining a little richness and viscosity over the last 12 months. There is an appealing completeness to this Yquem and whilst would not place it amongst the likes of 2001 or 2009, it comfortably sits just behind.
97/100 – Neal Martin
Utterly great Yquem ! My wine of the vintage – and the Decanter team’s top-scoring wine of 2014. A laser beam of acidity (3,6 pH) and lemony botrytis lifts ans extends very pure aromas and sweet flavours (134g/l residual sugar) of tangerine, vanilla, pineapple and minerals. Less rich than the 2001 and ’09, but purer and fresher. I wonder if 25% Sauvignon Blanc isn’t just 5% too much ?
97/100 - Decanter, Ian d’Agata
A crazy combination of botrytis, dried fruits and freshness. It’s not the sweetness Yquem bit it has an extraordinary depth of fruit and freshness. It goes on for minutes. Spicy and intense. A stunning young wine. A brightness and fabulous depth of fruit.
97-98/100 - James Suckling
The 2014 Château d'Yquem Sauternes is utterly beguiling, with acacia, jasmine and honeysuckle notes leading the way, followed by refined peach, tangerine and yellow apple fruit flavors. The racy finish is long, long, long with a lemon chiffon note lingering delicately. With its racy profile, it's in the mold of the '01 and '11, but perhaps just a hair shy of concentration when compared to those two spectacular Yquem vintages. Thirty percent of the blend was made from earlier-picked fruit that was very, very fresh, picked at the end of the first week of September," said Lurton. "Then the later pickings we selected the different generations of botrytis fruit, as we got a little rain and a little sun alternating during that perfect Indian summer. We could combine the two sides—fresh and rich—but the hallmark of the
vintage is its freshness.
96-99/100 - Wine Spectator
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.
In 2014, the three weather sequences during the harvest were ideal for noble rot: light rain to induce Botrytis growth, followed by two or three weeks of stable, hot, dry weather, promoting rapid concentration of the sugars by evaporation. The picking waves simply followed these three periods of Botrytis development. In this way, the 22 mm rainfall of 25-28 August was followed by 19 dry days, leading to a very early first wave of picking, from 5 to 17 September, bringing in ¼ of the harvest with unusually high acidity. Another rainfall episode triggered further Botrytis development, followed by three hot, dry weeks before a second wave of picking from 25 September to 8 October, once again representing ¼ of the harvest, with superb concentration and lively acidity. The 3rd period of rain was a little longer, from 8 to 16 October, but was once again followed by 16 days of hot, dry weather. The 3rd and 4th waves of picking, between 20 and 30 October, rounded out the aromatic palette and texture of the vintage, with the full-bodied richness of the late-ripening terroirs.
The long harvest, over a nine week period, captured all the diversity of a growing season where flowering and veraison were also spread out. This year, the early start specific to Yquem, with 25 % of the grapes harvested before 15 September, provided unusually fine acidity. This gives an attractive edge to a blend which reflects the full complexity of this vintage, combining a modern approach with freshness and concentration, in the same vein as 2011.
The palate is very poised with the acidity nigh on perfect. Occasionally an Yquem only reveals its components parts at this early juncture, necessitates conjecture. However the 2014 has a sense of harmony and completeness already, as if the élevage is merely there to usher it on to its finished state. There is undeniably great depth here, perhaps less conspicuous than other vintages because of that silver thread of acidity: notes of lemon sherbet, orange zest, shaved ginger and again, a few "flakes' of white chocolate. It is extremely long with tenderness rather than power on the finish. It's not quite up there in the rarefied heights of say, the 2001 or 2009, but it is what we call in the trade, "the business."