Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized.
- Andre Simon
And I am trying to have at least 8-10 different wines every night with my dinner at the Wine Bar!
Our Chateau D’Yquem Sauternes wine tasting has become an annual event on Valentine’s Day and this year we are going all the way back to the 1975 vintage and have added a few other sweet wines to the line-up from the Loire Valley back to the legendary 1921 vintage! We have some incredible vintages on the table this evening and the price of admission is around the price of any single bottle of D’yquem at this event 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) 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 glycerin. 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 as we experience this great Sauternes back to the 1975 vintage along with some very special and very old wines from the Loire Valley back to the legendary 1921 vintage. Chef Toni will be making a special five-course tasting menu to accompany the tasting wines. The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $595 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail email@example.com.
VALENTINES SAUTERNES WINE TASTING FEATURING CHATEAU D'YQUEM AND MORE!
WITH SPECIAL GUEST DR. ROBERT MALINER
Saturday, February 12, 2022
1921 Vouvray Liquoreux, Marc Bredif, Loire
1921 said to be greatest year in Loire for sweet wines, maybe also in Sauterne
1929 Chateau de Ricaud Haut-Loupiac
1949 Moulin Touchair Cote du Layon Loire
1962 Chateau Suduiraut Sauterne
1971 Chateau Climens Barsac
1971 Chateay Coutet Barsac
1975 Chateau D’Yquem Sauterne
1976 Chateau d’Yquem Sauterne
1986 Chateau d’Yquem Sauterne
1988 Chateau d’Yquem Sauterne
1990 Chateau d’Yquem Sauterne
1998 Chateau d’Yquem Sauterne
1999 Chateau d’Yquem Sauterne
2001 Chateau d’Yquem Sauterne
Jalapeño Sea Salt Popcorn
Shoestring Fries with Lemon Gremolata
Foie Gras Three ways:
Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras with sauteed Wild Mushrooms over Toasted Brioche
Foie Gras Terrine with Grilled Pineapple Sushi
Foie Gras Torchon with Sauternes Jelly
Tuna Poke with Coconut and Lime
Pineapple Soy Glazed Beef Shortrib over Black Bean Sticky Rice
Mixed Berry Creme Brulee in Pecan Laced Cookie Basket with Rum Carmel Sauce
The fee for this tasting is $595 + tax, for reservations call 054-523-9463 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
A bit about Chateau D’Yquem:
Château d'Yquem lies at the top of a hill in the commune of Sauternes commanding a view over the four communes that comprise the Sauternes district. Geographically, as well as psychologically, it is the focal point of the region. Although Château d'Yquem has been in the Lur-Saluces family since 1785, the first proprietor to take a close personal interest in the estate and its wine was Bertrand de Lur-Saluces (1810-1867). He lived and died at Château d'Yquem, made major improvements to the vineyard, and oversaw the era when d'Yquem began to fetch higher prices than even Château Lafite-Rothschild. Although the fashion for Sauternes eventually diminished, Château d'Yquem always remained protected by succeeding generations of Lur-Saluces. Alexandre, the present proprietor, took over at the death of his uncle, whose very long reign came to an end in December of 1968. And there has been great continuity with the team responsible for overseeing and producing the wine. The legendary Maitre de Chai, Roger Bureau, started work at Château d'Yquem in 1909 and retired in 1970!! The present manager, Pierre Meslier, arrived at d'Yquem in 1964. 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.