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  • Country ranking ?

    555
  • Producer ranking ?

    17
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    from 2020
  • Food Pairing

    Pumpkin Cheesecake with an Amaretti Cookie Graham Cracker Crust

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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Firstly, you notice the color, which is a touch deeper than recent vintages at this stage. The bouquet is quite honeyed and rich for Yquem at this early juncture, with subtle scents of peach skin, white flowers, and a puff of chalk and frangipane. The palate is viscous on the entry, all about the texture at first, coating the mouth with luscious botrytized fruit. There are touches of Seville orange marmalade, fresh apricot, a hint of spice and passion fruit. This is imbued with impressive depth and weight, perhaps an Yquem that is determined to make an impression after last year's absence. It might not possess the finesse of a top flight Yquem, but it has immense power and persistency.

A majority of the 2013 Chateau d-Yquem was picked between September 25 and October 2, augmented by a second trie on October 11 after rains had provoked botrytis and then a third trie from October 21 and 24, before a final pass through the vineyard at the end of the month. Winemaker Sandrine Garbay told me that all the lots were used, but only 40% of the crop made it into the final blend, which equates to around 70,000 and 80,000 bottles. During assemblage of different lots, the blend ended up 30% Sauvignon Blanc, a little higher than usual, and 70% Semillon, while the residual sugar comes in at 140gm/L, which is a little higher than average. The reason is that the fermentation stopped naturally at this level, therefore the alcohol is a tad lower than average at 13.1 degrees.

Score: 95/97 Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (212), May 2014

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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

2013 was a year of tremendous contrasts. Spring was abnormally cool and wet, which meant that flowering was very spread out – a factor conducive to complexity at Yquem. Summer was magnificent! Cool weather in September retained the grapes' freshness, whereas summerlike conditions returned in October. The harvest took place under ideal conditions. This 2013 is very "botrytised", with richness and candied fruit flavours. The wine's freshness and power are comparable to 2001 and the degree of botrytis is reminiscent of

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Vintage 2013

2013 BORDEAUX VINTAGE REPORT 

The 2013 vintage in Bordeaux was one of the most challenging since 1965 and 1968. Thomas Duroux of Chateau Palmer describes it as “the most complicated vintage in 20 years”. It rained almost continuously during spring. Flowering was uneven resulting in poor set, millerandage and coulure. The threat of mildew was mollified by the arrival of hot dry weather during summer. For a while vignerons were hopeful that plentiful sunshine and benign weather would allow the vines to catch up. Violent storms, wind and intermittent heavy rainfall in July and August hampered vine growth and created difficulties with fruiting. High humidity and cool temperatures prior to harvest led to a slowdown in ripening and the perfect environment for botrytis (grey rot) infection. Merlot did not perform well on the left bank. Chateau Margaux certainly was vulnerable to these conditions, but others, in their efforts to talk up the vintage, have shown superb Gallic denial. You would be forgiven for believing this might be an exceptional vintage; such is the brilliance of the best professional liars in the world.

 

In years gone by, the weather conditions, uneven ripening and disease pressure would have resulted in disastrous wines. Chateau Margaux avoided the worst rains by bringing in a picking team of 300 people to harvest the crop at lightning speed. Chateau Lafite also raced against the elements and won. Most Chateaux do not have this type of luxury. Sorting tables, were “derigeur” during the harvest, allowing the best berries to be selected. I can’t remember seeing any red wine with noticeable botrytis characters. The fruit, however, did not generally ripen to optimum levels. Many producers found it necessary to chaptalize their vinifications to allow the wine to reach a more attractive level of alcohol. Some Chateaux, including Cos d’Estournel at 12.7% alc, made their wines apparently without the addition of sugar. Most estates, however, found it difficult to achieve phenolic ripeness. Tannins are the framework of all red wines. They don’t have to be perfectly ripe; an “al-dente” texture can give a compelling freshness and appealing structure. But it was easy to over extract in 2013. The very best wines were those that were “unpushed” and intuitive to vintage conditions. The use of saignée (juice run off), reverse osmosis and other methods to concentrate wine, is never talked about by winemakers, but there were a few wines with soupy textures and unnatural mouthfeel.

 

Many of the 2013 primeurs wines have only been in barrel for a few weeks. This creates challenges because the oak characters can detract from the inherent quality of the young wines. Many Chateaux will no doubt adjust their oak maturation philosophies to match the character of the vintage. Others will use oak as a cosmetic or builders bog to fill the structural inadequacies of their wine. Acidity is also strongly present in the wines this year. This element is essential for the freshness, tension and life expectancy of any vintage. In riper years, acidity tends to play second fiddle, yet in 2013, it is a principal violin. Fruit character, perhaps the most important feature of any wine, inevitably varies according to sub region and vineyard. The very best wines of this vintage have the aromatic quality, persistence and depth of good vintages. Ultimately the most triumphant red wines are proportionate to the commitment and the financial resources of the wine producer.

 

Although Merlot struggled in the Medoc, it performed well on the right bank. Pomerol was comparatively resplendent with generous fruit and riper tannin backbones than elsewhere. St Emilion was also capable of making some lovely wine, but as usual the results were mixed. Pessac Leognan reds were muscular and on the rustic side, whereas the whites were minerally and fresh with strong acidities. Many feel that the dry whites are excellent. For most Australians, these wines don’t really offer value. There were some good Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant red wines made in the Medoc. However, no single sub region prevailed. If anything I preferred Pauillac, especially Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste and Chateau Batailley.

 

The humidity that hampered the 2013 harvest in the Medoc and elsewhere worked in favour of Sauternes and Barsac producers. There was a ‘widespread proliferation” of botrytis cinerea (noble rot) during Bordeaux’s wet autumn. The wines range from magnificent to standard in quality. The very best have a beautiful honey, barley water complexity, understated richness and viscosity and fresh acidity. Chateau d’Yquem is remarkably good. The biodynamic Chateau Climens is a beautiful expressive wine. Every year, I taste it in barrel and in parts. I can imagine the final blend and it will not disappoint.

 

The 20% drop in exchange rates between the Australian Dollar and the Euro over the last year will make the 2013 more expensive that the better 2012 and 2011 vintages. Unfortunately this will have a significant impact on market opportunities in Australia. It is unlikely the Chateau owners will drop their prices significantly enough to make this campaign worthwhile. The drop in demand from China and the “pipeline” full in other markets will result in sluggish sales across the world. Although this year’s primeur campaign will test the resilience of the traditional Bordeaux wine trade, there is still an impressive level of optimism. I think everyone is looking forward to moving on from the 2013 vintage. On the other hand this is the type of vintage, with a touch of bottle age, that could reappear in a more favourable light in a few years time.

by ANDREW CAILLARD MW

 

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

13 tasting notes

Tasting note

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Written Notes

Bright aromas of sliced mango, papaya, botrytis, and lemon follow through to a full body, medium sweet and phenolic palate that gives the wine structure and beauty. Electric acidity and freshness yet an impressive energy and length. A severe selection was made. 40% of the production was destined to the grand vin. About 80,000 bottles made. This is 70% semillion and 30% sauvignon. Better in 2018.

  • 98p

Golden. Pineapples, apricots, detailed, vanilla, peach, touch of exotic spices on the nose. Fresh acidity, fruity, detailed, elegant and playful, refreshing, brighter expression this vintage, long. Served for the Fete de la Fleur dinner when I was enthroned into the Commanderie Bontemps. 95

  • 95p

A pure, yellow-gold. Cleaner notes from the sauvignon grapes shine through, followed by a core of tropical and ripe yellow fruits, and aromas of earth and freshly-cut grass. Complex and full of flavours of roasted white fruits and raisins, complemented by floral notes and sweet spices this wine has a freshness that lingers long on the palate.

A blend of sémillon (70%) and sauvignon (30%), the 2013 vintage is the result of a growing season remembered for wild contrasts. Spring was extremely wet and cool, and summer unusually hot and long, which provided noble rot the perfect conditions to flourish. During harvest, the grape selection was very strict allowing only the best grapes to be picked and produce this splendid Sauternes.

Tasted three times - last time in March 2015. Consistent notes. Very sophisticated and intense nose of honey melon, orange peel, finesse and elegance, great match between acidity and sweetness, remarkable complexity and stupendous finish. It's classy d'Yquem which needs time to develop, but at the moment I don't think this wine matches the quality of 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
  • 95p
Bordeaux 2013 / Part III, Sauternes. Château d´Yquem 2013 / 98 points / Bright golden yellow colour. Opulent nose with complex aroma. A great classic with rich charater, caramelised pineapple and vanilla, passionfruit and stewed mango, ripe pear fresh apricots. Very elegant spicyness in the background. On the palate opulent, dense flavour profile though elegant character, freshness and great length. A wonderful wine with depth, length and complexity
  • 98p
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Information

Origin

Sauternes, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Excellent

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Good

Fake factory

None

Glass time

4h

Highlights

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