x
  • Country ranking ?

    789
  • Producer ranking ?

    24
  • Decanting time

    6h
  • When to drink

    from 2020
  • Food Pairing

    foie gras

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 50 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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Unseasonably warm temperatures led to an early harvest for this vintage, which is not only intensely rich and sweet, but also beautifully fresh, racy and with a long finish.High levels of residual sugar have helped to create a richly honeyed example of this legendary Sauternes. Pure and with exemplary range , it will do well in the cellar.

Due to a very warm spring, the harvest started and ended early, with picking commencing in the first week of September - the earliest harvest for the past 125 years. The grapes for this blend, 80% sémillon and 20% sauvignon blanc, were carefully picked at intervals to coincide with the changeable weather.

 

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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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Wine Information

2011 Chateau dYquem Sweet Bordeaux Wine of the Vintage

2011 Chateau d’Yquem is the sweet Bordeaux wine of the vintage! The 2011 Chateau d’Yquem is also a contender for one of the top wines of the entire vintage. This beautiful Sauternes offers intense aromatics packed with overripe pineapple drenched in honey, roasted nuts, apricots, nectarines, white peach, flowers, orange rind and honey in the complex perfume. Thick, rich and intense, with the viscosity of motor oil, along with tropical fruit dripping with honey and the perfect amount acidity to give this elixir life, 2011 Chateau d’Yquem is majestic. I do not think it’s quite at the same level of quality as the legendary 2001, but it’s not that far off. If the 2011 Chateau d’Yquem is offered at a fair price, it’s worth having in your cellar. 98-99 Pts

Prior to 2000, Chateau d’Yquem was not sold as a future. The wine was held in barrel and in bottle until it was ready to be sold. That policy changed with the new owners and the 2003 vintage. Due to the low level of demand for any 2011 Bordeaux wine being offered as a future, the director, Pierre Lurton issued a statement saying 2011 Chateau dYquem would not be offered as a future.

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Vintage 2011

Compleate Bordeaux 2011 Vintage Report: 2011 is a dangerous vintage

“2011 is a dangerous vintage. We lived through draught, rain and a lot of sun, all in that order. The draught did not impact our vineyard very much, because we have different terroirs. With each terroir, we performed specific work in the vineyards and we were lucky in our choices. The entire Right Bank of Bordeaux seems to be a success so far and yes, this includes not just St. Emilion, but Pomerol as well. From my recent tastings, 2011 Bordeaux seems to be a mix of two Bordeaux vintages; 2007 for the smoothness and 2009 for the maturity and sucrosité” says Jean Luc Thunevin.

In 1989, Jean-Luc Thunevin and Murielle Andraud bought a small 0.6 hectare plot of vines with the dream of making great St. Emilion wine! The name of the estate is personal. Valandraud is a combination of its location and something more meaningful.  The Val comes from Vallon de Fongaban. The second part, Andraud is Murielle’s maiden name.

Things have changed at the estate since its birth. With more land and more importantly, the Bordeaux wine of Valandraud is made entirely by Murielle. 2007 was the first vintage that allowed Murielle to call the shots for the wine making.  This was a good move.

    2009 Valandraud and 2010 Valandraud are two of the finest efforts from this unique, Bordeaux wine producer. The current 2011 vintage marks the 20th vintage for Valandraud as their first effort was  the 1991 Valandraud.

Jean-Luc Thunevin: “We waited patiently, waited for our grapes to reach the right concentration before harvesting. We started on September 7 and managed to finish October 13. This is about two weeks earlier than usual. We normally start about September 20. 

     2011 Bordeaux is about sorting, sorting and more sorting.  We sorted in the vineyards and in the cellars. Since the 2007 vintage, we have been using the Tribaie sorting machine, which allows helps us remove more of the bad grapes based on levels of sugar concentration in the berries. The machine performs densimetric sorting which is based on the desired levels of ripeness and sugar levels”.

 

The earliest harvest on record since 1893

Chateau  Lafite Rothschild started to harvest Cabernet Sauvignon in their northern most parcels, located not far from Chateau Cos d’Estournel, Friday, September 2.  2011. This is on one of the earliest harvests on record for the property.  You’ll be reading quotes from many Bordeaux wine producers that 2011 Bordeaux, for many chateaux will be their earliest harvest on record since 1893! However, growers situated in some parts of Bordeaux have moved up their time tables are harvesting even earlier than they previously expected.

     Due to the massive, freak, hail and rain in barrage the Northern Medoc, centered near the Pauillac , St. Estephe border, to avoid possible problems with the onset rot, many chateau in that vicinity have decided to start picking earlier than they had originally planned on.  The most notable property is the famed First Growth, Chateau Lafite Rothschild.  It is possible that the storm, which dropped over a massive, half inch of rain in a twenty minute period caused some flooding to the cellars of Lafite Rothschild

“With our 2011 harvest, we harvested earlier because the growing of the vines was earlier than usual, due to the very hot spring. But the weather conditions of maturation in summer were fresh and cool, so the wine is of a cooler style than a late vintage. The nice weather conditions at the end of August and September were very good for phenolic ripeness”. Fabien Teitgen from Château Smith haut Lafitte.

 

The 2011 vintage is not simple to handle.

Smith Haut Lafitte is not only making great white and red Bordeaux wine in Pessac Leognan, they are at the forefront with technology as well.  They were one of first Bordeaux wine producers to begin using Optical Sorting, which came in handy with the difficult 2011 Bordeaux harvest. Fabien Teitgen, the long-time managing director joined us for a long, detailed conversation on what took place at Smith Haut Lafitte for the 2011 Bordeaux vintage.

 “To my mind, 2011 is balanced with low pH and medium alcohol. So for those who picked at the right time, their wines will be balanced, with a good concentration and a good freshness. This vintage is not so simple to handle.”

 

Chateau Cos d’Estournel, St. Estephe, started their 2011 Bordeaux harvest, Monday, September 5.

Jean Guillaume Prats told us, 2011 set a modern day record for an early start to their harvest at Chateau Cos d’Estournel. He added, “This was the estates second earliest harvest on record. To find an earlier date, we needed to back to 1893!”  While the specific date to start picking was not set in stone, the original plan was not to begin their Bordeaux harvest on September 5.  But due to a ferocious storm that swept through the area, 2011 Bordeaux Harvest Massive Storm Slams the Northern Medoc, any hope of waiting went out the window. “We initially planned to start about September 9, with the young vines. After the storm, we gave ourselves the time over the weekend to assess the situation and make the appropriate decision: Waiting and see how it will develop in the days to come depending on weather. We are “lucky” this vintage is extremely early. The damages in terms of phenolic ripeness of the grapes should be very minor. If this was a later year, like 2008, 2009, or 2010, the effects would be much worse.

”said Prats

 

The day starts before the sun rises

Chateau Haut Brion and Chateau La Mission Haut Brion started harvesting their young vine Merlot, August 29.  This is early for the First Growth estate. To give you an idea of how early, in 2010, Haut Brion started to pick their young Merlot vines, September 8. In that vintage, harvesting continued until October 9. 

Between the two Pessac Leognan properties, with red and white grapes to pick, they have a busy schedule. The harvesters begin their day working on the grapes for their Bordeaux white wine, often starting their day before the sun rises.

Jean-Philippe Delmas explains why they harvest in the early morning: “The purpose of picking the white grapes early in the morning is to ensure the fruit remains cool. This helps the berries to retain their unique, fresh aromas. This year, we picked our white grapes between 7am and noon.  The reason is, by that time of day, the skins are dry. None of the dew from the night is remaining.”

 

Since Patrick Maroteaux purchased Chateau Branaire Ducru in 1988, he has been on a mission to produce the best wine possible from this Fourth Growth estate.  While 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2009 are all potential candidates for the best wine yet from Branaire Ducru, I’m willing to place a bet the 2010 turns out to be his strongest wine yet. What about 2011 Branaire? Where does the most recent vintage stand?  Patrick Maroteaux fills us in. “We will produce a rather powerful and colorful vintage due to the low ratio between the juice and the skin. So far the tannins seem rather approachable and elegant. The complexity of the structure will probably not be at the same level as the 2009 and 2010 vintages. We can position the 2011 vintage in the category of the very serious wines. We now know for sure that this vintage will show a very interesting balance”.

 

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

32 tasting notes

Tasting note

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Written Notes

Crazy minerality to this, with lots of dried mango, pineapple and papaya on the nose. Botrytis-spice and nutmeg undertones. Full body, very sweet, with superb depth of fruit and richness. It goes on for minutes. Turns dense and concentrated on the palate. Speechless. Better in 2019

  • 98p

Pale gold colour. Lemon curd, grapefruit, honey, ginger and vanilla new oak. Sweet fruit -- dried apricot, lemon rind. Lovely richness, well concentrated, superb concentration, grapefruit, dried lemon, marzipan -- delicious. Fine crisp acidity. Finishes long and tangy. 94-96 points,

  • 96p

Yellow gold. Orange bitters, honey and a slight spice come through on the nose. Flavours of pineapple, apricot, toasted nuts and the softest hint of saffron from ageing are supported by a finely tuned minerality.

Unseasonably warm temperatures led to an early harvest for this vintage, which is not only intensely rich and sweet, but also beautifully fresh, racy and with a long finish.High levels of residual sugar have helped to create a richly honeyed example of this legendary Sauternes. Pure and with exemplary range , it will do well in the cellar.

Due to a very warm spring, the harvest started and ended early, with picking commencing in the first week of September - the earliest harvest for the past 125 years. The grapes for this blend, 80% sémillon and 20% sauvignon blanc, were carefully picked at intervals to coincide with the changeable weather.

Yellow gold. Very focused nose of dried fruits with a delicate toasted note. Concentrated, fresh palate that is rigorous, dense and perfumed. Ethereal freshness imparts abundant mellowness, faultless quality oak and a hint of youthful sourness on the finish.

  • 96p

The Château Yquem 2011 has a complex bouquet, one that is very well defined with hints of petrol infusing the rich honeyed fruit, later melted wax and fresh peach coming through. The palate is well balanced with a strong viscous entry. There is plenty of residual sugar here and I would have preferred a little more acidic bite to offset that rich, decadent finish

  • 95p

An early vintage. Early flowering, and started very early. A lot of freshness.’
Perfecto! Green yellow straw coloured and the nose is perfect – lemon lime custard aplenty. Interestingly, this seems almost delicate at first, before the oak kicks into gear. It’s bitter, biting, surprisingly acidic, ultra-long, warming and flirts between being too big and ripe but then also delicate. Love the lemon butter finish. This is magnificent and I love seeing the extra fruit here – makes it even more delicious. Sublime wine. 19.2/20, 97/100.

  • 97p

Pale golden. Rich, pineapples, lemon curd, some crème brulée, light lilies note nose, intense. Fresh acidity, fruity, pineapples, some spices, peach, rich and fruity, playful, layered, long finish. 95

  • 95p

Chateau d’Yquem 2011 99 points

What can be said here…  Compared to the 2001 (confirmed by Sandrine Garbay), this was an astoundingly fresh and complex wine, stratospheric in its flavour explosion in my mouth, and going the distance through the finish.  Even to the lay person this is an exceptional wine: thought provoking, smile inducing and exciting.  I mean this is a seriously cool wine.

  • 99p
Tasted three times - last time in April 2014. Consistent notes. This wine showed multiple botrytised aromas, a lot of sweetness and corresponding acidity, sophisticated touch, fabulous intensity, stunning balance, length and finish. Exceptional stuff.
  • 98p
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Information

Origin

Sauternes, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Excellent

Investment potential

Average

Fake factory

None

Glass time

2h

Inside Information

The 2011 has a clear silvery gold hue, perhaps not quite as deep as I recall the 2010 last year. The bouquet is very fragrant and well-defined, with scents of wild honey, honeysuckle and a touch of vanilla. It is a refined, sedate and beautifully focused bouquet that does not need to show off. The palate displays superb weight in the mouth, even though at first it seems almost understated. Yet there is clearly a high level of spicy, botrytized fruit with notes of honey, orange zest and a touch of mandarin. There is no explosion on the finish; the 2011 is rather a lesson in control, complexity and nuance. It is utterly seductive. Drink 2016-2040+.

The 2011 commenced with picking on September 6, the fourth earliest in its history, although they waited until September 12 to really get going in the vineyard. The harvest was over four tries until the October 5, peaking on the last day of the second trie on September 23. There is a very low level of volatility compared to the level of residual sugar, which at 144 grams per liter is almost the same as 2010

Score: 96/98 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (200), April 2012
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