2011 Château d'Yquem, Sauternes, Bordeaux
Neal Martin - 28/02/2015
Wine Spectator's 2011 Top-Scoring White Bordeaux
James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
Robert Parker - Wine Advocate
James Suckling – James Suckling.com
Very ripe pineapples, apricots, mangos and marmalade. Rich, ripe and long. Big, juicy wine freshness on the finish. Full-bodied. There’s 145 gm of residual sugar.
CH’NG Poh Tiong – The Wine Review
2011 Chateau d’Yquem is the sweet Bordeaux wine of the vintage! It’s 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 wine is offered at a fair price, it’s worth having in your cellar.
Jeff Leve 10 years after its famous older brother and perhaps the harbinger of a new, different sort of cycle, this vintage seems to be a benchmark in the estate’s history…
Although 2001 continues to symbolise the perfection of Botrytis at the pinnacle of its concentration and power, 2011 offers an almost insane precociousness based on the same elegance. Thanks to a month’s advance compared to an average growing season, 2011 enabled us to capture an extremely wide range of flavours and aromas never present in a normal year. The combination of power, complexity and purity immediately impressed the d’Yquem winemaking team. It is archetype of the 21st century d’Yquem, with attractive freshness and an ethereal side that provides a subtle balance to the texture and volume on the palate.
Like its glorious older brother, 2001, it will undoubtedly have an amazingly long life span. However, the very unusual conditions during the growing season mean that 2011 d’Yquem is also well worth discovering quite young in order not to miss any facets of this diamond wines development.
Review from Château d'Yquem
About this WINE
Chateau d`Yquem is often described as the greatest sweet wine in the world. After centuries of family ownership, Yquem was finally sold in acrimonious circumstances to Louis Vuitton-Moët-Hennessy in 1999. However, 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.
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
Sauv.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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Wow, what a wine! I totally agree with where the Chateau are coming from as I had the same feeling when I tasted the 2001. Definitely worth the wait but all we need to know is the price! So complex and perfectly layered, tropical fruits with the signature marmalade on the finish you really could drink this now. If you have this in the cellar and can be patient then I suspect you will be very happy in about 40 years or if you’re impatient don’t worry, you won’t be disappointed.
Ben Upjohn - Fine Wine Sales Manager
The long awaited 2011 release certainly doesn’t disappoint and draws inevitable comparison to their faultless 2001. Wondrous flavours; pineapple, peach, mango, orange zest, honey, ginger and blossom. Voluptuous across the palate, multi layered but it is the balance and finesse which is simply remarkable. Precise and fresh, somehow ‘light on its feet’. An ethereal d’Yquem for which the word finesse could have been created. A long future awaits....
Martyn Rolph - Private Account Manager
In putting forward our notes on Yquem I can do little better than quote the charming, highly talented winemaker at the property, Sandrine Garbay, who told us that “ it was wonderful year for Sauternes with perfect autumnal conditions for botrytis, or noble rot. Acidities are on the low side but there is a great freshness and purity to the wine”.
Little to add, really, but we’ll have a go. The bouquet is very clean and appealing, with notes of stone fruit such as apricot and peach along with some citrus zest. On the palate the sweetness is crystalline and pure, not remotely cloying, and the finish is again wonderfully fresh and enticing. A wine that will come round quite early, I feel, and despite its apparent low acidity it does not feel at all heavy or unbalanced. This was the first Sauternes we tasted but subsequent experience indicated
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