1997 Château d'Yquem, Sauternes, Bordeaux

1997 Château d'Yquem, Sauternes, Bordeaux

Product: 19978004787
Prices start from £1,500.00 per case Buying options
1997 Château d'Yquem, Sauternes, Bordeaux

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Available by the case In Bond. Pricing excludes duty and VAT, which must be paid separately before delivery. Storage charges apply.
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12 x 75cl bottle
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6 x 75cl bottle
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Description

The 1997 Yquem comes from a season that witnessed the earliest-ever flowering (5 May) and an early picking that began on 4 September, though botrytis failed to develop, necessitating seven tries through the vineyard over 32 days of picking that lasted until 4 November. 

One aspect to note is how deep in colour this is compared to the 2003 that Sandrine Garbay served alongside. The nose offers marmalade and quince, hints of yellow plum and honey, not quite as precise as the previous bottle that I tasted in May the previous year, though it displays less of that adhesive trait. The palate has a lovely piquancy, very tangy with driving marmalade and Seville orange notes. The 5g/L of total acidity maintains the tension of the 1997, though maybe it is a little more evolved than I might have expected. Still, it remains a magnificent Yquem that will last many decades. Tasted from an ex-château bottle in London.

Drink 2022 - 2045

Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2022)

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Critics reviews

Neal Martin, Vinous93/100

The 1997 Yquem comes from a season that witnessed the earliest-ever flowering (5 May) and an early picking that began on 4 September, though botrytis failed to develop, necessitating seven tries through the vineyard over 32 days of picking that lasted until 4 November. 

One aspect to note is how deep in colour this is compared to the 2003 that Sandrine Garbay served alongside. The nose offers marmalade and quince, hints of yellow plum and honey, not quite as precise as the previous bottle that I tasted in May the previous year, though it displays less of that adhesive trait. The palate has a lovely piquancy, very tangy with driving marmalade and Seville orange notes. The 5g/L of total acidity maintains the tension of the 1997, though maybe it is a little more evolved than I might have expected. Still, it remains a magnificent Yquem that will last many decades. Tasted from an ex-château bottle in London.

Drink 2022 - 2045

Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2022)

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Wine Advocate95/100

A vintage of exceptional weather, 1997 was a relatively warm, drought vintage equating to a very slow onset of botrytis this year. The warm temperatures contributed plenty of sweetness, while light rains late in the season finally spurred the spread of noble rot, making for a potentially very good Sauternes vintage in the end. However, the strict selection was critical, ultimately allowing d'Yquem to craft an impressive wine well above the vintage’s standard.

Medium gold coloured, the 1997 d'Yquem rolls effortlessly out of the glass with super spicy gingersnap, coriander seed, cinnamon stick and cloves scents over a core of toffee, preserved kumquats, praline, lemon curd and crème brûlée. Silken textured, rich, opulent and stacked with flavour layers, it has an understated, beautifully knit backbone of freshness and a very long toasted-nut finish. The alcohol came in at 13.9% this year, with a residual sugar of 120 grams per litre, and the total acidity is 4.8 grams per litre of H2SO4.

Drink 2019 - 2044

Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (August 2019)

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Jancis Robinson MW17.5/20

Mid gold. Dried citrus with more than a touch of volatility gives an almost vinegary aspect to the nose. Much better clarity on the palate with burnt sugar on the finish. Even so, it's not the freshest daisy compared with other Yquem vintages. 

Richard Hemming MW, JancisRobinson.com (February 2020)

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Robert Parker96/100

A sensational Yquem, 1997 may be this estate's finest effort since 1990 (although I would not discount the 1996 turning out to be nearly as good). The 1997's light gold colour is accompanied by a gorgeous perfume of caramel, honeysuckle, peach, apricot, and smoky wood. Full-bodied and unctuously textured, with good underlying acidity as well as loads of sweetness and glycerin, it looks to be a great vintage for this renowned Sauternes estate.

Yquem spends 42 months in 100% new oak. No cask tasting is permitted, and the wine is not released until 5 years after the vintage. For example, the 1998 will be released sometime in 2003; the 2001 will not be released until 2006.

Drink 2005 - 2055

Robert M. Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate (April 2003)

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About this WINE

Château d’Yquem

Château d’Yquem

Château d’Yquem is the leading estate in the Sauternes appellation on the Left Bank of Bordeaux. It has long been reputed for making one of the world’s great sweet wines. In the 1855 classification of Bordeaux wines, Yquem was given the lofty title of Premier Cru Supérieur – the sole property at that level. It sits comfortably among the First Growths of the Médoc and their equivalents on the Right Bank regarding its quality and prestige among wine collectors.

The estate has a noble history dating back to the 1590s. By 1711, it was owned by the Sauvage family, French aristocrats whose descendants would remain at the helm for almost three centuries. Yquem is now part of the Louis Vuitton Moët-Hennessy (LVMH) group, owned by Bernard Arnault, one of France’s wealthiest people.

Yquem is located in the heart of Sauternes, at the commune’s highest point and surrounded by many of the appellation’s other leading estates. The vineyard is planted to a majority of Sémillon, supported by Sauvignon Blanc. There are 113 hectares of vines, though only 100 hectares are used in any one vintage.

To make a bottle of Yquem depends on developing botrytis cinerea, the so-called “noble rot”, in the vineyard. Harvest involves up to 200 workers, passing through the vineyard up to 10 times to pick only those berries that have been infected with noble rot. This doesn’t happen uniformly, and it doesn’t happen every year. In some years, no Yquem is produced at all – as in 1964 or, most recently, 2012. Of this approach, President Pierre Lurton says: “It’s important to take a lot of risk. If you don’t take a risk, you don’t make Yquem.”

Today, Yquem is led by Pierre Lurton, its longtime President, along with Estate Manager Lorenzo Pasquini. The Cellar Master is Toni El Khawand, following the departure of Sandrine Garbay in 2022.

In addition to the sweet Sauternes produced here, there is also a dry white wine, Y (pronounced “ee-greck”).

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Sauternes

Sauternes

Sauternes is where arguably the world's finest sweet white wines are produced. The Sauternes appellation actually consists of five communes: Barsac, Preignac, Bommes, Fargues and Sauternes itself. Barsac is also an appellation in its own right.

Sauternes literally has an atmosphere different from any of the other major communes. At the southern tip of the Graves,close to the Garonne, not only is the land hillier and decidedly more bucolic but it also enjoys a specific mesoclimate of evening autumn mists which linger until well into the following day, unless burnt off by warm sunshine.

The mists are caused by the cool, spring-fed waters of the Ciron River meeting the warmer tidal Garonne, and the result is an ideal environment for the growth of the mould botrytis cinerea. When its arrival is felicitous, it feeds on the water in the ripe grapes, dehydrating them and leaving sweet, shriveled fruit.

Other regions in Bordeaux (ie Cadillac, Loupiac) produce wines in a similar style from the same method, but none achieve the profundity and complexity of Sauternes.

Recommended Châteaux : Ch. D'Yquem, Ch. Climens (Barsac), Ch. Suduiraut, Ch. Rieussec,  Sigalas- Rabaud, Ch. Coutet (Barsac), Ch. de Fargues, Ch. Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Ch. Doisy-Védrines (Barsac), Chateau Partarrieu, La Tour Blanche

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Sauvignon Blanc & Sémillon

Sauvignon Blanc & Sémillon

The blend used for White Graves and Sauternes and rarely encountered outside France. In the great dry whites of Graves, Sauvignon Blanc tends to predominate in the blend, although properties such as Smith Haut Lafite use 100% Sauvignon Blanc while others such as Laville Haut Brion have as much as 60% Sémillon in their final blends. Sauvignon Blanc wines can lose their freshness and fruit after a couple of years in bottle - if blended with Sémillon, then the latter bolsters the wine when the initial fruit from the Sauvignon fades. Ultimately Sauvignon Blanc gives the wine its aroma and raciness while Sémillon gives it backbone and longevity.

In Sauternes, Sémillon is dominant, with Sauvignon Blanc playing a supporting role - it is generally harvested about 10 days before Sémillon and the botrytis concentrates its sweetness and dampens Sauvignon Blanc`s naturally pungent aroma. It contributes acidity, zip and freshness to Sauternes and is an important component of the blend.

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