Valentines Chateau D'Yquem tasting back to 1967

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 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 comparing this great Sauternes to the next best thing in Sauternes Chateau Suduiraut all the way back to the 1967 vintage including great vintages like; 1970, 1989, 1998, 2001, 2011 and more.  We have two 100 point wines in this group 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 1989 at Christie's first West Coast auction, a rare 1811 Château d'Yquem (from the famed comet vintage) sold for an astronomical $18,000!!

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.

 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/1e/Chateau_d_yquem_logo.jpg Image result for Chateau Suduiraut

Chateau D'Yquem versus Chateau Suduiraut Tasting at WWWB
Wednesday, February 14th
7:30pm

1967 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes
The 1967 vintage is legendary due to a magnificent Indian summer that year. The harvest was very late, towards the end of October, and yielded a concentrated vintage that nonetheless had great acidity due to the lateness. Ageing has allowed it to express the full complexity of the terroir. The colour is deep amber with ruddy shades. The wine is luminous with a youthful appearance. The powerful and delicate nose reveals a complex, well-integrated bouquet with aromas of candied fruit (orange), quince then notes of dried fruit and very fine rancio. The attack is delicate and velvety followed by a well-structured mouthfeel with fine acidity and minerality that is characteristic of the cru. Notes of light caramel, black tea, saffron and dried fruit mingle with notes of orange. It has great aromatic persistence that prolongs the pleasure. The finish is clean and fresh with a hint of bitterness that emphasises the full range of flavours of this wine that is at its peak.

1967 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes
Price: $2300.00    Sale Price: $1900.00

(100 points) From one of the 20th century's celebrated vintages for Yquem, this bottle stands up to all the hype--unforgettable for its purity, elegance, harmony, its "total" everything. Powerful, yet it seems weightless on the palate, almost defying gravity as it tangos around with its vanilla, peach and apricot flavors. Seamless, nearly endless finish. Easy to understand its reputation as the greatest Yquem of the last 35 years. (PM) (5/1999) Wine Spectator
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

1986 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes

(98 points) There is no other wine in the world like it, and there is no other luxury wine that can possibly justify its price as much as Yquem. The remarkable amount of painstaking labor necessary to produce the nectar known as Yquem is almost impossible to comprehend. This is a fascinating effort. With greater evidence of botrytis than the colossal 1983, but less power and alcohol, the 1986 Yquem tastes reminiscent of the 1975, only more precocious, as well as more concentrated. Several highly respected Bordeaux negociants who are Yquem enthusiasts claim the 1986 Yquem is the greatest wine produced at the property since the legendary 1937. Its enthralling bouquet of pineapples, sauteed hazelnuts, vanillin, and ripe apricots is breathtaking. Compellingly concentrated, the breadth as well as depth of flavor seemingly know no limits. This full-bodied, powerful, yet impeccably balanced Yquem should provide memorable drinking for 40-55 more years. Like the 1983, this is another winemaking tour de force. (RP) (1/1998) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

1989 Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes (375ml)
Price: $325.00    Your Price: $286.00          Quantity in Stock: 2

(97 points) The favorite sweet wine of millionaires, Chateau d'Yquem has, not unexpectedly, turned in a brilliant effort with their newly released 1989. It is a large-scaled, massively rich, unctuously-textured wine that should evolve effortlessly for a half century or more. It does not reveal the compelling finesse and complexity of the 1988 or 1986, but it is a far heavier, richer wine than either of those vintages. It is reminiscent of the 1976, with additional fat and glycerin. The wine is extremely alcoholic and rich, with a huge nose of smoky, honey-covered coconuts and overripe pineapples and apricots. As with most young vintages of Yquem, the wine's structure is barely noticeable. These wines are so highly extracted and rich yet approachable young, it is difficult to believe they will last for 50 or more years. The 1989 is the richest Yquem made in the eighties, and it has an edge in complexity over the powerhouse 1983. It remains to be seen whether this wine will develop the extraordinary aromatic complexity possessed by the promising 1988 and 1986 Yquems. Last tasted 11/97 Bordeaux Book, 3rd Edition Jan 1998

1998 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes
Price: $90.00

(91 Points)  Lime and honey on the nose with a touch of grapefruit. Good balance and definition on the palate with notes of pineapple/marmalade and quince. Balanced with good levels of botrytis. A fine Sauternes though surpassed by other vintages. Tasted May 2000. Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, April 2000

2001 Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes
Price: $925.00

(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

2005 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes
Price: $116.00    Your Price: $102.08          Quantity in Stock: 4

2011 Chateau D'yquem Sauternes
Price: $450.00    Your Price: $396.00          Quantity in Stock: 19

(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 Sushi with grilled Pineapple and mango
Bacon wrapped prawns with voodoo coconut curry
Apricot jam glazed pork loin
Chocolate Creme Brulee

The fee for this tasting is $395 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com

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