Chateau D'Yquem Tasting back to 1961

Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 07:30 PM

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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 on Valentine’s Day and this year we are going all the way back to the 1961 vintage including great vintages like; 1962, 1966, 1970, 1983, 2007, 2011 and more.  We have some incredible vintages on the table this evening and the price of admission is less than the price of any single bottle of D’yquem on this offering and this includes a five course tasting menu!!

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) 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.

 

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Chateau D'Yquem The world’s greatest Sweet Wine Sauternes back to 1961
Thursday February 14th
7:30pm

2012 Y D'Yquem

The unusually erratic weather conditions obviously had an influence on the vines, and flowering was long and drawn out due to the rain.  The dry, warm weather in August nevertheless evened out ripening.
The harvest of grapes for Y began on the 5th, 6th, and 7th of September under a magnificent clear blue sky. We picked the more early-maturing Sauvignon Blanc at the height of their aromatic potential, when the thermometer stood at 30 °C.
After some rain on the 10th of September, we started picking superb Sémillon grapes from Yquem's best clay slope plots on the 12th and 13th. The humidity in the soil had enabled the grapes to reach optimum ripeness without botrytisation, which is essential for this wine.
Y was the one and only wine produced by Château d’Yquem in 2012.

1961 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes
Price: $875.00    Sale Price: $725.00           Quantity in Stock: 3

1962 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes
Price: $895.00    Sale Price: $750.00           Quantity in Stock: 2

1966 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes

1970 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes

(90 points) Somewhat less evolved than the 1971, and for me always a shade less interesting and complex, the 1970 Yquem is a large-scaled, rich, full-bodied, fairly alcoholic Yquem with significant flavor interest as well as crisp acidity. Unlike the 1971, which is close to peak maturity, this wine has a long way to go and is impressive, but not yet revealing all of its potential. Anticipated maturity: Now-2025. (RP) (1/1998) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

1983 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes
Price: $595.00    Sale Price: $425.00

(98 points) Super-intense and full-throttled, elegant and stylish. Dark amber in color and rich in complexity, this '83 coats your mouth with butterscotch, dried apricot, fig and spice flavors. Made to age for decades. (4/1995) Wine Spectator

2005 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes
Price: $900.00    Your Price: $792.00

(95-98 Points) Wine Advocate # 176, Apr 2008 Concentrated nose of apricot compote, dried fruit, and figs with vanilla and floral (jasmine and acacia blossom) aromas. The bouquet opens up after swirling in the glass to reveal entremely fresh citrus zest overtones that emphasize the wine's subtle refinement. Starts out deliciously suave and caressing on the palate, with perfect balance. The fresh acidity and elegance compliment the wine's restrained power, giving it incredible class. there are strong flavors of gingerbread, orange nonette cakes and liquorice followed by a gorgeous acid tang that underpins the wine's beautiful, long aftertaste on a par with the chateau's most illustrious vintages. The tremendously varied and complex flavor all seem to vibrate on the same wavelength, melting into a subltle whole. Once this is esprienced, there is an irresistible urge to plunge bak into this sensual, infinitly rich universe. Tasted by the winemaking team at Chateau D'yquem

2007 Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes
Price: $395.00 Your Price: $347.60    Quantity in Stock: 12

 
 

(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

2011 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes
Price: $450.00    Your Price: $396.00          Quantity in Stock: 14

(96 Points) Served from an ex-chateau bottle. Bottled in October 2013, the 2011 Chateau d’Yquem is reticent at first, a little stage fright perhaps. It soon recovers and offers gorgeous scents with fresh white peach, nectarine and fresh apricot that are beautifully defined, although there is a veneer of new oak that will need to be subsumed. The palate is well-balanced with superb structure. There is a light spiciness here with great symmetry, and although there is not the persistency of a top flight Yquem, it has a penetration that is compelling. Tasted March 2014. eRobertParker.com #213 Jun 2014 Reviewer: NEAL MARTIN

Menu
Jalapeño Sea Salt Popcorn
Foie Gras Torchon with Sauternes/Citrus jelly
Tuna Toro with spicy soy dipping Sauce and Black Bean Cakes
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 $395 + tax, for reservations call 054-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com

 

Older vintages of D'Yquem and other Sauternes that are available:

1949 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes
Price: $2500.00    Sale Price: $2000.00       Quantity in Stock: 1

1959 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes
Price: $2995.00  Sale $2635.60     Quantity in Stock: 1

(97 points) Classic, exciting Yquem. Silky, creamy and round, yet armed with plenty of intense botrytized flavors--dried apricot, raisin, dried fig. Full-bodied, with caramel and butterscotch complexity, it ends on a very intense finish. Drink now through 2050. (5/1999) Wine Spectator

1967 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes
Price: $2500.00    Sale Price: $1900.00       Quantity in Stock: 1

 

1975 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes
Price: $1200.00    Sale Price: $925.00         Quantity in Stock: 1

1990 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes
Price: $550.00    Sale Price: $425.00           Quantity in Stock: 1

2001 Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes
Price: $925.00    Your Price: $814.00          Quantity in Stock: 1

 

2014 La Fleur D'Or Sauternes 375ml
Price: $20.00    Your Price: $17.60               Quantity in Stock: 7

2013 La Fleur D'Or Sauternes
Price: $33.00   Your Price: $29.04                Quantity in Stock: 1

2011 La Fleur D'Or Sauternes
Price: $35.00    Your Price: $30.80               Quantity in Stock: 3

2011 Chateau Petit Vedrines Sauternes 375ml
Price: $15.75    Your Price: $13.86               Quantity in Stock: 1

2011 Chateau Carmes De Rieussec Sauternes
Price: $35.00    Your Price: $30.80               Quantity in Stock: 12

2009 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes
Price: $115.00    Sale Price: $95.00              Quantity in Stock: 2

2009 Chateau Climens Sauternes 3 LITER
Price: $995.00    Your Price: $875.60          Quantity in Stock: 1

2008 Chateau Guiraud Sauternes (375ml)
Price: $35.00    Sale Price: $30.80                Quantity in Stock: 4

2005 Chateau Filhot Sauternes
Price: $38.25    Your Price: $33.66               Quantity in Stock: 3

2005 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes
Price: $116.00    Your Price: $102.08          Quantity in Stock: 3

2001 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes
Price: $250.00    Sale Price: $170.00           Quantity in Stock: 1

2001 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes (375ml)
Price: $75.00    Sale Price: $55.00                Quantity in Stock: 6

 

2001 Chateau Rieussec Sauternes MAGNUM
Price: $450.0    Sale Price: $370.00              Quantity in Stock: 2

1998 Chateau Roumieu Lacoste Sauternes
Price: $49.00    Your Price: $43.12               Quantity in Stock: 1

1998 Chateau Guiraud Sauternes
Price: $69.00    Sale Price: $60.72                Quantity in Stock: 11

1996 Doisy Daene L'Extravagant Sauternes 375ml
Price: $250.00    Your Price: $220.00          Quantity in Stock: 1

1990 Chateau de Fargues Sauternes
Price: $165.00    Your Price: $145.20          Quantity in Stock: 1

1989 Chateau Climens Sauternes
Price: $195.00    Your Price: $171.60          Quantity in Stock: 1

1988 Chateau Climens Sauternes
Price: $210.00    Your Price: $184.80          Quantity in Stock: 1

1988 Chateau Rabaud Promis Sauternes
Price: $90.00    Sale Price: $75.00                Quantity in Stock: 2

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