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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.
BORDEAUX 2000 – A DREAM VINTAGE
Weather conditions / Vintage 2000 has from the very start been proclaimed as one of the best vintages of modern times. In spring 2003, I've had many opportunities to find out, if we really have a true dream vintage in our hands.
During harvest 2000, while doing "personal inspection" in the vineyards, I noticed that something extraordinary big was on its way. Grapes looked extremely healthy.
While sorting table was rolling, I observed, that there were few leaves, stalks and weeds among the grapes. That's why sorting out grapes went so easy and quick. It must be one of hallmarks of 2000 vintage, because normally even the great vintages require a lot of work at sorting table.
2000 vintage is classic, extravagant and extremely long-lived Bordeaux with dark, extremely dense wines, which have enormous concentration of fruit, length and superbly concentrated tannin. The tannin is not allowed to dominate, because it's well wrapped up by fruit. A scent of sub-maturity is only present in few wines. One of this vintage's trademarks is an intense and deep aroma of dark berries, like blueberries, blackberries and black cherries.
All red grape varieties reached perfect maturity, including Bordeaux' most capricious and unruly grape variety, Petit Verdot. Petit Verdot gives the much meeded contribution of backbone and power to the wines.
Also the grapes for whites, like Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle, did ripe perfectly and produced tremendously fine dry white wines. Sweet white wines turned unfortunately to be a few light, elegant and charming wines, which were based 100% on September pickings. Beginning on the 11th October, it rained heavily in Bordeaux and it continued until the end of the year.