Few would argue that the title of the greatest sweet wine on the planet belongs to Sauternes’ Château d’Yquem. Drinking Château d’Yquem almost guarantees one a truly special and unforgettable fine wine experience. The quality is imperious, no matter the vintage, and the very best are near immortal.
Château d’Yquem came into the possession of the Lur-Saluces family in 1785 when Louis-Amédée de Lur Saluces, godson of Louis XV, married Françoise-Joséphine de Sauvage (the Sauvage family became sole owners of Yquem in 1711 after Jacques de Sauvage first leased Yquem from the French king Henri IV in 1593). After centuries of family ownership, a majority stake in Yquem was finally sold to Louis Vuitton-Moët-Hennessy (LVMH) in 1999. Pierre Lurton was appointed President of Château d’Yquem in 2004 by Bernard Arnault and the LVMH group and no changes were made to the team. Francis Mayeur, technical director since 1983, remained in place, as did Dr. Sandrine Garbay (PhD in oenology), cellarmaster since 1998.
Yquem is located on the highest hill in Sauternes and enjoys the best growing conditions in the whole appellation. The 113-hectare vineyard is planted to 75% Sémillon and 25% Sauvignon blanc. The estate boasts a microclimate that is located within the heart of a 20-km strip of land along both sides of the Garonne Valley. A bird’s-eye view of Sauternes reveals that all eleven first growth and twelve second growth estates are dotted around Château d’Yquem, the only Premier Cru Supérieur classified estate.
Only fully botrytized fruit is picked by the 150-odd highly skilled pickers. Yields are so low that each vine produces only one glass of wine. Once pressed, the juice is fermented in 100% new oak barrels and is then racked off into barriques to mature for up to 36 months.
“Château d’Yquem belongs to another world…Ask anyone in the wine business who makes the greatest sweet wine and the name of Sauternes’s most prestigious château is never far from their lips.”
Tim Atkin, Master of Wine
We continue to work closely with a select few négociants to bring in wine from Bordeaux and all of the below vintages from Château d’Yquem have been acquired from one such négociant, direct from the Château. We have handpicked ten vintages that cover three decades of wine from this mighty estate, all bottled in 750ml format and in original wooden cases of 6.
Orders are not limited to full cases, so please send us your request even if less than 6 bottles per vintage and we will do our best to accommodate. Please take note that this is a pre-shipment offer and the wines will only arrive early on in 2022. Upon confirmation of your order, an invoice will be issued and a 50% deposit will be required in advance to secure the wines.
Ten vintages of Château d'Yquem
*Prices are per bottle and incl. VAT
2018 vintage | 97 pts. Decanter | R 5,995
“…intense and glossy, full of satin-textured apricot and white peach flavours. There are exotic fruits of pineapple and mango but winemaker Sandrine Garbay has kept a focus on fresher flavours of lime zest and citrus that balance out the natural richness and concentration…there is power and balance here, an excellent Yquem.”
2017 vintage | 97 pts. Neal Martin for Vinous | R 7,300
“It has a charming and very pure bouquet with dried honey, acacia, apricot blossom and touches of crushed stone that gradually unfurls in the glass. The palate is viscous on the entry, beautifully balanced with impressive weight and substance, though sans the multi-dimensional complexity of the very greatest vintages. Honey, hints of lemongrass, marmalade and quince combine on the extremely harmonious finish that lingers. This is a seriously good Yquem.”
2015 vintage | 98 pts. Antonio Galloni for Vinous | R 7,500
“…without question one of the wines of the vintage…the 2015 is a wine that engages all of the senses, from the intellectual to the more hedonistic. Lilting notes of pineapple, mint, orange peel and white flowers grace the palate, but it is the wine’s sense of balance and total harmony that impress most. Above all else, the 2015 Yquem is a wine of energy and class. Don’t miss it!”
2013 vintage | 94-96 pts. Antonio Galloni for Vinous | R 6,500
“…rich, honeyed and voluptuous in the glass, but never excessively heavy. Crème brulee, candied lemon, apricot jam, orange marmalade, sweet spices and almond paste meld together in a Sauternes built on class and finesse What a gorgeous wine this is.”
2010 vintage | 98 pts. Lisa Perotti-Brown for Wine Advocate | R 7,700
“Pale to medium lemon-gold color…offering spritely suggestions of lemon curd, lime cordial and green mango with wafts of honeysuckle, spice cake, sea spray and beeswax plus a hint of gingerbread. The palate really comes through with super intense, tightly wound citrus, savory and mineral layers carried by a laser-precise backbone of freshness, finishing with crazy persistence that lingers a full three minutes and then some. This is going to be a very exotic, opulent Yquem!”
2009 vintage | 100 pts. Lisa Perotti-Brown for Wine Advocate | R 8,995
“Pale to medium gold colored…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…a laser-focused line of freshness, the rock-solid structure and through-the-roof opulence here is simply mind blowing. Pure perfection.”
2007 vintage | 95 pts. Neal Martin for Vinous | R 7,995
“Lucid amber in color, it has a reticent nose at first, though it blossoms with aeration to reveal captivating aromas of mirabelle, dried honey and beeswax. A subtle adhesive scent loiters backstage. The palate is medium-bodied with vanilla pod and almond on the entry, and very tensile with a seductive viscosity toward the close. Touches of nougat and white chocolate lace the finish of one of the finest Yquems of this decade. Glorious to drink now and doubtless glorious to drink in 50 years’ time!”
2005 vintage | 97 pts. Lisa Perotti-Brown for Wine Advocate | R 6,995
“…opens with a provocative, mineral and earth-tinged nose of chalk dust, wet pebbles and dried wild mushrooms over a core of warm apricots, green mango, honeyed toast, ginger and pink grapefruit plus wafts of honeycomb, orange blossoms and saffron. The palate confirms the wine is still a little closed and shut down, offering achingly gorgeous glimpses at the tightly wound, intricate layers structured with a racy acid line and wonderfully creamy texture, finishing incredibly long and perfumed. This decadent flavor bomb still needs a good five to seven years in bottle before it is set to go off, but oh what a spectacle it will give then!”
1991 vintage | 91 pts. Robert Parker for Wine Advocate | R 6,895
“Yquem’s 1991 is a beautifully made, medium gold-colored wine with a gorgeous nose of creme brulee, roasted coffee, and sweet, honeyed pineapple and other assorted fruits. Full-bodied, unctuously-textured, and rich, but not yet revealing a lot of complexity or enormous weight. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2040.”
1983 vintage | 96 pts. Robert Parker for Wine Advocate | R 11,995
“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.”