Chateau d’Yquem: The Latest from Neal Martin
©Chateau d'Yquem

Chateau d’Yquem: The Latest from Neal Martin

Chateau d'Yquem

Local legend says Chateau d’Yquem first stumbled across the delicious effects of Botrytis Cincera, or Noble Rot, in 1847 when, then owner Marquis Romain-Bertrand de Lur Saluces ordered harvest to be held until his return. Hunting in Russia, he was delayed and arrived later than expected, leaving the grapes to fortuitously rot on the vines. Whatever the truth may be, Chateau d’Yquem has long set the standard for lusciously complex, charmingly rich and luxuriously sweet Sauternes.

Neal Martin

Neal Martin

Balancing acidity, sugar and alcohol, the Yquem wines have the capacity to age and develop for generations. Celebrated critic and wine writer at The Wine Advocate, Neal Martin, recently attended a vertical tasting that spanned nine decades, with wines dating back to 1937. But not only did Martin get to taste historically great, and still eminently drinkable vintages, he also got an exclusive look at the last three vintages released by Chateau d’Yquem: 2009, 2010 and 2011.

 The Wines of Chateau d’Yquem

  • Ch. d’Yquem 2009
  • Ch. d’Yquem 2010
  • Ch. d’Yquem 2011
One of the most highly acclaimed vintages of the past two decades the 2009 Vintage was a resounding success across the entire Bordeaux region. With an idyllic growing season the vines at Chateau Yquem experienced a near uniform spread of Botrytis.

100 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate. “The 2009 Chateau d’Yquem is one showstopper of a wine … It has a wonderful nose that expresses the Semillon component majestically: heady aromas of lemon curd, nectarine, jasmine and honeysuckle that all gain momentum in the glass. The oak is supremely well-integrated. The palate is extremely well-balanced with an unctuous entry. You are immediately knocked sideways by the palpable weight and volume in the mouth, which is almost “bulbous,” with layer upon layer of heavily botrytized fruit. It builds to a spicy finish with hints of marzipan and pralines in the background that lend it an untrammeled sense of exoticism. The 2009 is utterly fabulous and decadent, a star that will blaze brightly and undimmed for many years. Drink now-2060+.”

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Another highly acclaimed vintage in Bordeaux, the 2010 Vintage received very similar acclaim to the 2009 Vintage. With a cooler growing season overall the yield was lower, but a warm August delivered great balance.

93 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate. “There is fine minerality on the nose and great transparency. The palate is fresh and harmonious, with a fine bead of citrus fruit and a penetrating, spicy finish that offers white peach and honeysuckle notes, yet does not possess anything close to the peacock’s tail of the magnificent 2009. Still, this is a fine Yquem. Drink 2017-2040+.”

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The fourth earliest harvest ever on record at Yquem the 2011 growing season was defined by an unusually warm summer. Bottled in October 2013 and just released to market, 2011 is the newest vintage available.

96 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate. “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…it has a penetration that is compelling.”

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