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With an annual production of 10,000 bottles a year, Y (pronounced "ee-grek" in French) is a rare wine. It is made from the same outstanding terroir and the same vines as Château d'Yquem. Although work in the vineyard is every bit as meticulous, the grapes are picked and the wine made in a different way.
Y was formerly made at the end of the harvest, with the last bunches left on the vines. These grapes, affected to varying degrees by Botrytis cinerea, but never with more than 15% potential alcohol, resulted in a very unusual wine. This explains why it has always been produced in small quantities and on an irregular basis since 1959. Y changed starting in 1996, but without compromising its unique character, to be more in tune with the times by displaying the qualities of freshness and crispness – essential for a modern great white wine. It was decided in 2004 to make Y every year. It is thus by deliberate choice that we now harvest certain plots of Sauvignon Blanc at the beginning of the vintage, making sure to pick perfectly ripe bunches. These are completed by Sémillon grapes picked just at that fleeting stage when the grapes have reached maximum ripeness, botrytis has just appeared, and the skins have turned a pinkish colour. This is the precise moment when this grape variety's tannins are soft enough for the aromatic potential of the best plots of clay soil to come through.
The wine receives close attention all during fermentation: light, precise pressing as well as temperature-controlled must racking and alcoholic fermentation in a new aesthetically pleasing, state-of-the-art vat room set aside just for this wine. The end of fermentation and ageing on the lees take place in barrels. Only one third of these are new, and the lees are regularly stirred (bâtonnage) for ten months.
1962 was a hot, dry year.
Y was made from two passes with a long interval in between: the first week of October and in mid-November.
Bordeaux Vintage Report by Tb / Although 1962 was also a fabulous year, it fell irretrievably into the shadow of 1961. The cold winter, with its biting frosts, ensured that the vines would get a much-needed rest after their hard work in 1961. The growing season started three weeks late. When the vines finally germinated in mid-June, the weather improved. Toward autumn, the weather warmed up measurably, with the resulting dryness eventually having a negative impact on the vines. The few abundant harvests of September came just in time to rescue the grapes from withering on the vine. The harvest, which brought in the largest crop of the 1950s and 1960s, did not begin until 1 October. Few believed that the vintage would be as good as it became. An excellent vintage for dry whites, reds and Sauternes. Where Sauternes are concerned, the 1962 was a considerably better year than the 1961. The best reds were the Cheval Blanc, Pétrus and Mouton-Rothschild. A common characteristic of the finest 1962 wines today is their serene, balanced aspect. Only a few show any real body and complexity, but they work well especially as dinner wines, also due to their excellent availability and affordable price. Even the finest wines should not be decanted for more than an hour.