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  • Country ranking ?

    426
  • Producer ranking ?

    23
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2040
  • Food Pairing

    Walnut Torte

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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Neal Martin

“This performed brilliantly at the Roberson's vertical, even outclassing the lauded 1997! A moderate golden hue. The nose is closed at first, very muted as it was before. But the palate is where it is all going on: honey, white peach, excellent levels of botrytis with a touch of barleysugar and spice towards the finish. Very long, blossoming in the glass with the reluctant nose eventually offering some lovely coconut and almond aromas. This could be a really great Yquem in another couple of decades. Patience is needed. Drink 2025-2050.”

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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.

 

Chateau d`Yquem is often described as the greatest sweet wine in the world. After centuries of family ownership, Yquem was was bought by Louis Vuitton-Moët-Hennessy in 1999. Its former owner and director Alexandre de Lur-Saluce remains in charge. Yquem is located on the highest hill in Sauternes and enjoys the best growing conditions in the whole appellation. The 110-hectare vineyard is planted with 80% Sémillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. Only fully botrytized fruit is picked by the 150 highly skilled pickers and yields are so low that each vine produces only one glass of wine. Yquem is fermented in oak barrels (100% new) and is left in barriques to mature for up to 36 months. Intensely opulent when young, Yquem develops an extraordinary complexity and exotic richness when fully mature, with the best vintages lasting for over 50 years. Château d'Yquem is classified as a 1er Cru Classé supérieur.

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Wine Information

Weather in 1996: The weather was hot and dry throughout much of the growing season, except for 2 weeks of unexpectedly cool temperatures in September that made for the ideal ripening of grapes that were already in superb condition. Rain arrived at just the right time and soon after it was time to harvest a very homogeneous crop.

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Vintage 1996

The 1996s stand as a “classic” Bordeaux year, although – as Jancis Robinson MW has written – not in the “skinny” sense; although Farr Vintners’ director, Tom Hudson, told the drinks business that it was perhaps a “very good” rather than a “truly great” year as it wasn’t uniformly excellent across the region.

By way of a recap, 1996 was a particularly sterling vintage for Médoc wines. The Berry Bros & Rudd website extolls: “This is one of the great post-war vintages for Médoc Cabernet-based wines. They are rich, complex and beautifully balanced wines, packed with ripe, pure fruit and have the structure that will allow the top wines to age well into the next decade and beyond.”

The Right Bank by contrast are described as “distinguished” but “overshadowed” by the ‘95s – which was an especially good vintage for Saint Emilion and Pomerol.

It was also an excellent vintage for white Bordeaux.

Robert Parker’s scores tend to favour the Left Bank, though a few of the very best wines of the Right Bank received very respectable reviews as well.

Only two wines received 100-points: Lafite and Latour, Margaux was rated 99, Léoville Las Cases 98, Ducru Beaucaillou 96 and Pichon-Comtesse 96.

La Mondotte was the highest rated Right Bank wine on 97-points, Ausone was the next best rated on 93 as was L’Eglise Clinet, while Gomerie, Petrus and Le Pin settled for 92 and Cheval Blanc for 90.

With the passage of nearly 20 years, the wines have naturally appreciated and now that they are well into their drinking window demand will almost certainly begin to push prices up even further for the most in-demand among them.

The figures are often impressive, to date Lafite has seen a rise of 657.9% since its release, its second wine Carruades is up 592%, Latour has risen 437%, Petrus 400% and Pichon Baron 240%.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

20 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Light, Yellow and Healthy

ending

Long, Round and Flavorful

flavors

Voluptuous and Honey

nose

Intense, Fresh, Opulent and Refined

recommend

Yes

taste

Concentrated, Balanced, Medium-bodied, Rich, Round and Harmonious

Verdict

Well-rounded and Sophisticated

Written Notes

RS 130 g/l, TA 4 g/l. An academic vintage – Sandrine’s first. Guy Latrille left in 1997. Great balance. Mid copper. Very firm barley-sugar nose. Very rich and so concentrated. Lovely firmness. Brilliant fruit without being that sweet. Wax and depth and great tanginess. Very flexible with food, I should think. Medium weight and very very appetising, with a touch of chew on the end. Orange peel, muscularity. This one goes to the gym. Real lemony interest.

  • 95p

It amazes me how different this vintage is yet again in full size bottle compared to in demi. Golden, fresh and lively with apricots, pineapple and ample botrytis. Feels so much more refined, balanced and layered, more accomplished and put together. Superb balance and length, very refreshing. 95

  • 95p

A half bottle with a bright amber colour. The nose is complex and rich with aroma reminiscent of dried apricots, passionfruit and mango jam, vanilla and hints of gingerbread spices, vanilla and dried pineapple in the background. On the palate opulent sweetness balanced by fine acidity, lingering aftertaste with dried yellow stone fruit and honey. A very pleasant wine which is approaching its peak in the half bottle. 96/100

  • 96p
Tasted four times - last time in June 2014. Consistent notes. Pale yellow. Possessed extremely sophisticated and intense nose with aroma of dried apricot and honey melon, and was incredibly well composed on the palate with oceans of nuances and lots of sweet peaches and apricots. Due to high sugar content, it simply stuck to the tongue. It's a really classic effort from château – 20-30 years horizontally. This wine tasted in June 2014 wasn't as impressive as bottles tasted on three previous occasions - older, less concentrated and shorter on the finish.
  • 97p
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Information

Origin

Sauternes, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Excellent

Investment potential

Good

Fake factory

None

Glass time

2h

Inside Information

Light gold with a tight but promising nose of roasted hazelnuts intermixed with creme brulee, vanilla beans, honey, orange marmalade, and peaches, this medium to full-bodied offering reveals loads of power in its restrained, measured personality. There is admirable acidity, weight, texture, and purity in this impeccably made Yquem. However, patience will be a virtue. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2060.

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Highlights

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 d'Yquem 1996  has updated wine and vintage information

1y 21d ago

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