Chateau D'Yquem Vertical Tasting back to 1949- Our Annual Valentines Wine Tasting featuring the world's most famous sweet wine!

Friday, February 14, 2020 - 07:30 PM

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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 1949 vintage including great vintages like; 1970, 2001, 2007, 2009, 2011 and more.  We have some incredible vintages on the table this evening and the price of admission is less than the price of almost 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 majestically 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.

 

Chateau D'Yquem - The world’s greatest Sweet Wine Sauternes back to 1949
Friday February 14th 2020
7:30pm

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2011 Chateau D'Yquem Y
Price: $300.00    Sale Price: $240.00           Quantity in Stock: 5
Bottled in September 2012, the 2011 vintage of Y is a superb example of the new generation of this wine.  After a mild, very dry winter, the growing season got off to a strong start thanks to abnormally high temperatures in spring. In fact, the months of April and May were the warmest in over a century!
As a result, flowering took place 3 weeks ahead of time, in mid-May, auguring well for a very early harvest.  Fortunately, summer weather was less exuberant with temperatures just above the seasonal average and without excessive water stress. These conditions locked in freshness and acidity essential to great white wines despite the fact that the vines had maintained their considerable head start: the grapes were edible as of 7 July!
Fine weather returned in August, and a new period of hot weather set in. While there was no heat wave during this time, the weather was nevertheless quite warm, which inevitably led to a very early harvest. Picking of grapes for 2011 "Y" began on the 17th of August, a record for Yquem.
The Sauvignon Blanc harvest continued on the 19th, 22nd, 23rd and 29th of August and that of Sémillon on the 20th and 30th. The grapes that produce Y are picked exclusively by experienced permanent château employees, who carefully select a maximum of one bunch per vine in the finest plots, and only on days without rain.

1949 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes
(94 Points) From a very good vintage in Sauternes comes this exotic Yquem, packed with amazing orange marmalade and dried apricot flavors.--Yquem vertical. Drink now through 2020. PM WS  Wine Spectator

1970 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes
Price: $935.00    Sale Price: $795.00          Quantity in Stock: 1

(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

2001 Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes (375ml)
(100 Points) There are 10,000 cases of this perfect sweet white Bordeaux. The 2001 Yquem reveals a hint of green in its light gold color. While somewhat reticent aromatically, with airing, it offers up honeyed tropical fruit, orange marmalade, pineapple, sweet creme brulee, and buttered nut-like scents. In the mouth, it is full-bodied with gorgeously refreshing acidity as well as massive concentration and unctuosity. Everything is uplifted and given laser-like focus by refreshing acidity. This large-scaled, youthful Yquem appears set to take its place among the most legendary vintages of the past, and will age effortlessly for 75+ years. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2100+. Wine Advocate # 158, Apr 2005

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

 

2009 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes MAGNUM
(100 Points) Pale to medium gold colored, the 2009 d'Yquem bursts from the glass with gregarious crème caramel, allspice, dried apricots, mandarin peel and pineapple upside down cake scents plus a fragrant undercurrent of fungi, acacia honey, candied ginger, musk perfume and frangipani. Full-bodied and full-on hedonic in the mouth, the rich, tightly wound layers are still amazingly youthful with bags of citrus sparks and an incredibly long, perfumed finish. Possessing a residual sugar of 157 grams per liter and 13.6% alcohol as well as a laser-focused line of freshness, the rock-solid structure and through-the-roof opulence here is simply mind blowing. Pure perfection. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, March 2019

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
Shoe String Fries with lemon Gremolata
Foie Gras Torchon with Sauternes/Citrus jelly
Evil Jungle Prince Shrimp with Coconut Curry Sauce
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 which includes dinner is $450 + tax, for reservations call 054-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.

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