Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes Wine Tasting with Estate Manager Lorenzo Pasquin

Monday, February 6, 2023 - 07:30 PM

This Event has been read: 493 times.

Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized.

 - Andre Simon

 

And I am trying to have at least 8 different wines every night with my dinner at the Wine Bar!

Our Chateau d’Yquem tasting has become an annual event around Valentine’s Day and this year we had the tasting scheduled for Saturday, February 11th  , then we found out that the estate manager is in town on Monday the 6th of February so a quick change in plans.  Now we have a special guest from Chateau d’yquem to host this event and we are happy to welcome Lorenzo Pasquin to South Florida to treat our “Wine Drinking People” to the greatest sweet wine on Earth!

The wines of Sauternes and the neighboring district of Barsac were, up until recently, called the "dinosaurs of Bordeaux."  This reference to the majestical creatures that once roamed and ruled the earth is somehow appropriate.  These luscious, decadently rich sweet wines are the world's most exotic and at one time were the world's most expensive and most desired.  After the Second World War, staggering costs and slackening demand threatened the vignerons with extinction of the prized nectar.  Then in the 1980's the pendulum at last begun to swing the other way; and beginning with the great 1983 vintage (the best since 1976 and 1967), there was a renewed interest and demand for this great wine.  This has sparked an unfortunate increase in prices, The Wine Spectator reported in the fall of 1990 that wine merchants and collectors were lining up to pay as much as $230 a bottle for the first release of the 1986 Château d'Yquem.  The auction market for these wines also began to heat up - older, prized vintages of Château d'Yquem began to double in price.  In 2016 at Hedonism the exclusive Mayfair fine wine merchant, sold a rare 1811 Château d'Yquem (from the famed comet vintage) sold for an astronomical £78,105 in 2016 which is over $100,000 dollars!!

The fame of Sauternes reaches back at least to the time when Thomas Jefferson visited the area in 1785 and ordered a few cases of Château d'Yquem - in Jefferson's day d'Yquem was also the region's non-pareil Château.  When the great wines of Bordeaux were classified seventy years later, d'Yquem was so highly regarded that it was accorded the unique status of Grand Premier Cru - a higher classification than the great Médoc clarets like Lafite and Latour etc.  It is a little-known fact that the wine Jefferson ordered was quite dry; in fact the first sweet wine from this district was not made until the 1847 harvest at d'Yquem.  However, it did not take long for these wines to achieve fame, for in that era sweet wines (Champagne was a sweet beverage then) were very fashionable.  D'Yquem's first sweet wine vintage gained tremendous notoriety when the Grand Duke Constantine of Russia paid the then staggering price of 20,000 gold francs for four barrels; ever since it has been one of the most expensive wines of the world.

The process by which these great wines come about is fascinating and one of the examples of how nature can play topsy-turvy tricks and make decay a very beneficial rather than a harmful phenomenon.  In the fall, under certain conditions, (misty mornings and sunny afternoons) a mold forms on the skin of the exceedingly ripe grapes that are left on the vines.  The mold's technical term is botrytis cinerea; the vignerons refer to it as the "noble mold".  It often envelopes a grape and feeds on it by sending spike-like tentacles through the skin.  It rapidly shrivels the grapes and leaves their skins mere pulp.  The remaining juice is extremely sweet, concentrated, and packed with glycerine.  The particular conditions for serious onset of the "noble mold" occur only several times in a decade; and often the mold attacks unevenly, so the vines have to be picked over several times.  (Picking is done as many as thirteen times at d'Yquem!)  Sometimes growers lose patience and pick before the mold takes hold (for fear of a rain-out); the resulting wine is sweet, but it does not have that concentration that results from the shrinkage of the grapes from the mold.  The great difficulty and expense of producing these wines in tandem with a great lack of demand after the Second World War discouraged many proprietors; during the post war period, d'Yquem stood almost alone in maintaining the great standards of the past.

Join us for our annual Chateau d’Yquem tasting as we welcome the estate manager Lorenzo Pasquin to South Florida.  Chef Toni is making a special tasting menu to accompany the wines and the fee for this event which includes dinner is $495 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.

 

 d'Yquem Sauternes 2019 - Woodland Hills Wine Company Lorenzo Pasquini email address & phone number | Ch√Ęteau d'Yquem Directeur d'Exploitation  - Estate Manager contact information - RocketReach
Chateau D'Yquem The World’s Greatest Sweet Wine Back to 1976
With Special Guest Estate Manager Lorenzo Pasquin
Monday February 6th
7:30pm

2017 Y d'Yquem Magnum
Price: $630.00   Sale $554.40
Distinctive, with jasmine and elderflower notes leading off, followed by a racy set of white peach, white ginger and lemon shortbread notes. Feels pure and streamlined through the very long finish. A beautiful wine.

1976 Château d'Yquem Sauternes
(96 points) “Tasted blind in Bordeaux, the 1976 Château d'Yquem reaffirms its reputation as one of the great wines of the decade, although I would suggest that that 1971 and 1975 are the true pinnacles. However, in no way do I wish to slight this Sauternes. Deep and slightly burnished in color, it offers dried pineapple, barley sugar, almond and a cheeky puff of café latte. There is wonderful definition here. The palate is underpinned by nigh on perfect acidity with orange rind, mango, crème brûlée and minerals. As it fans out towards the finish, there is a tang of Seville orange marmalade, and though it does not quite possess the persistence of the 1975 Yquem, you will be craving for the next sip. At its peak now, enjoy this great Yquem over the next 20-30 years. (NM) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (6/2016)

1988 Château d'Yquem Sauternes
Price: $900.00   Sale $792
Three great successive vintages, a rare occurrence.  A late contamination, an All Saints' Day Yquem, harvesting at full maturity, never rushed.  A great classic which expresses today all the complexity of Botrytis, sublimated by the ageing offering notes of saffron, cardamom, myrrh and curry.

2007 Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes (375ml)
Price: $395.00   Your Price: $316.00       
(98 Points) Tasted single blind against its peers. Under blind conditions, the Yquem 2007 shines like a diamond. Nevertheless, it is initially rather taciturn on the nose, eventually opening up beautifully with touches of lemon curd, Mirabelle, and clear honey. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine definition and there seems to be a great deal of energy and vigor dispensed for your pleasure. There is such race and nervosity, and then that finish just purrs with harmony and focus. This Yquem feels just so alive and vivacious, yet there is an effortless quality here that is unmatched by its peers. Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 

2008 Château d'Yquem Sauternes
Price: $703.50   Sale $619.08
A long harvest beginning in the first half of September and ending at the end of October.  In total, 6 selections and different generations of Botrytis give this wine a great complexity, accompanied by a nice freshness due to the lower than average temperatures in September and October. The thermal amplitudes of summer gave the grapes a great richness and a wide aromatic palette.  This wine is a vintage of balance, freshness, and precision.

2013 Château d'Yquem Sauternes (375ml)
Price: $352.50   Sale $310.20
A very Botrytis wine with a sappy confit.  Two ideal phases of concentration which concretize a potential of a very present mushroom this year.  Honeyed, saffron and candied orange notes.  A very typical wine of the noble rot.

2016 Château d'Yquem Sauternes (375ml)
Price: $352.50   Sale $310.20
A vintage of great heat and dryness, followed by a slow concentration, spread out over 8 weeks.  The result is expressed on two registers: notes of exotic fruits accompany the power of Botrytis.  The cool temperatures of the harvest preserve the acidity.  A beautiful balance between power and freshness, intensity, and complexity.

2020 Château d'Yquem Sauternes
Price:  TBA
Be the first to taste the latest release of the world’s greatest sweet wine!

Menu
Jalapeño Sea Salt Popcorn
Foie Gras Three Ways:
(Foie Gras Torchon with Sauternes/Citrus jelly/ Foie Gras Mousse with Calvados served over  Grilled Pineapple and Strawberry  Sushi, Seared Foie Gras with Wild Mushrooms served over Brioche)
Evil Jungle Prince Seared Sea Scallops
Duck confit with Orange Marmalade BBQ and Epoisses Mashed Potatoes
Mixed Berry Creme Brulee in Pecan Laced Cookie Basket with Rum Carmel Sauce

The fee for this tasting is $495 + tax, for reservations call 054-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.  Please let chef Toni know when you make your reservation if you have any special dietary restrictions and she will be happy to accommodate you. 

 

A bit about our host Lorenzo Pasquini:

Lorenzo Pasquini email address & phone number | Ch√Ęteau d'Yquem Directeur d'Exploitation  - Estate Manager contact information - RocketReach
Italian, Lorenzo Pasquini first started to work in his family vineyard in Tuscany, then moved to Argentina and finally arrived in Bordeaux. 
After working with Château Palmer (familles Mähler-Besse et Sichel), Château Giscours, and Château du Tertre in Margaux and Caiarossa in Toscany, he is back with in LVMH since 2 years ( October 2020) doing his first harvests in Sauternes.
He participated to Cheval des Andes adventure created in Argentina by Château Cheval Blanc, in Saint-Emilion, and Terrazas de los Andes Estate, owned by LVMH.
For almost all his working life, he was either involved with French wineries abroad or wineries in Bordeaux. Here at Yquem, he looks after the technical side in the vineyard and the winery, and act as the right hand of Pierre Lurton [CEO of Yquem] in the day-to-day management of the estate.
Ever since the beginning, when he studied viticulture and oenology in Pisa, he knew that he wanted to finish his education in Bordeaux. He has always been drawn to the French idea of the grand vin – of what a great wine means. Bordeaux resonates with him because he loves the approach and the respect for those values behind a great wine.

A bit about Chateau d’Yquem:
The fame of Sauternes reaches back at least to the time when Thomas Jefferson visited the area in 1785 and ordered a few cases of Château d'Yquem - in Jefferson's day d'Yquem was also the region's non-pareil Château.  When the great wines of Bordeaux were classified seventy years later, d'Yquem was so highly regarded that it was accorded the unique status of Grand Premier Cru - a higher classification than the great Médoc clarets like Lafite and Latour etc.  It is a little known fact that the wine Jefferson ordered was quite dry; in fact the first sweet wine from this district was not made until the 1847 harvest at d'Yquem.  However, it did not take long for these wines to achieve fame, for in that era sweet wines (Champagne was a sweet beverage then) were very fashionable.  D'Yquem's first sweet wine vintage gained tremendous notoriety when the Grand Duke Constantine of Russia paid the then staggering price of 20,000 gold francs for four barrels; ever since it has been one of the most expensive wines of the world.

 

The process by which these great wines come about is fascinating and one of the examples of how nature can play topsy-turvy tricks and make decay a very beneficial rather than a harmful phenomenon.  In the fall, under certain conditions, (misty mornings and sunny afternoons) a mold forms on the skin of the exceedingly ripe grapes that are left on the vines.  The mold's technical term is botrytis cinerea; the vignerons refer to it as the "noble mold".  It often envelopes a grape and feeds on it by sending spike-like tentacles through the skin.  It rapidly shrivels the grapes and leaves their skins mere pulp.  The remaining juice is extremely sweet, concentrated, and packed with glycerine.  The particular conditions for serious onset of the "noble mold" occur only several times in a decade; and often the mold attacks unevenly, so the vines have to be picked over several times.  (Picking is done as many as thirteen times at d'Yquem!)  Sometimes growers lose patience and pick before the mold takes hold (for fear of a rain-out); the resulting wine is sweet, but it does not have that concentration that results from the shrinkage of the grapes from the mold.  The great difficulty and expense of producing these wines in tandem with a great lack of demand after the Second World War discouraged many proprietors; during the post war period, d'Yquem stood almost alone in maintaining the great standards of the past.

D'Yquem has always been one of the largest estates in the region.  The domaine totals nearly 375 acres - two thirds of which are under vines.  However, at any one time only about 200 acres are in full production  Each year about 10 acres are pulled up when the vines reach 40-45 years of age, and these parcels are allowed to lie fallow for three years before replanting.  The ratio is about 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc - an average of only seven hectoliters per hectare (about 31 cases per acre) is produced.  This is equivalent to one glass of d'Yquem per vine per year!  After the grapes are picked and the wine is made, it spends three and a half years in new oak barrels.  Production varies: There were as many as 10,000 cases produced in 1967 and 1975 - yet no d'Yquem was produced in 1972 and 1974.  On average, production falls between 2,000 and 4,000 cases.  For sake of comparison a 200-acre vineyard in the Médoc will produce between 30,000 and 40,000 cases a year.  The scarcity, the incredible low yields, and the very high cost of production for such things as all new barrels every vintage and a very labor-intensive harvesting regiment partly account for the very high price of Château d'Yquem. The rest is explained by the fact that the very name Château d'Yquem is synonymous with sweet wine, with perfection, with tradition, with all that is superlative in Sauternes.  It is, after all, the greatest sweet wine in the world.  For those who wish to delve deeper into the history of this great property we highly recommend a compelling and beautiful book, YQUEM, written by Richard Olney and published in 1986

 

 

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