Release of 2011 CHÂTEAU YQUEM 1er Cru Classé Sauternes

by Charles Lea

Release of 2011 CHÂTEAU YQUEM 1er Cru Classé Sauternes

Yquem 2011

We wondered, when it did not come out in early 2012 in the ‘primeurs’ season, when The LVMH-owned Château d’Yquem would decide it was a good moment to put its 2011 wine on the market, and at what price.

Apparently we were waiting all this time for the great Bobness’ final pronouncement – as if that really changes anything about a wine already praised fulsomely by every other critic on the planet, including Neal Martin on the great Master’s own website. Nevertheless, here is Mr Robert M. Parker’s view, kindly circulated to merchants around the globe by Château d’Yquem itself yesterday:

“The 2011 seems to be a close cousin of the 2001 and possibly 1988. Light gold, restrained but very pure, noble and intense bouquet of honeysuckle, caramelized apricot, white peach with a subtle hint of toasty oak. It builds slowly but beautifully to a full-bodied wine and long finish. This vintage is about restraint and perfect balance despite the 144 grams of residual sugar. Some vintages are more exuberant or flamboyant-2011 is racy and compelling. Of course these wines can be drunk young, but expect the 2011 to age for 50 -75+ years in a good cellar. RMP – 16/9/13” 97/100 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate and

As already noted by everyone else, this is one of the world’s great wines.

We can now offer 2011 CHÂTEAU YQUEM 1er Cru Classé Sauternes in all sizes and configurations at the primeur price of £2900 per dozen bottles/24 halves/6 magnums, or £1450 per six bottles, or £1450 per 12 halves, £1450 per 3 mags and so on. For bigger bottles please ask for confirmation of availability.

To order please email me or ‘’, or contact your usual shop or contact

Read on for all the other tasting notes:-

80% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon. Produced at the decent yield (for Sauternes) of 16 hl/ha, from a very early harvest over a month between the 7th September and the 5th October. Yellow-gold, lovely pungent nose with beeswax, honey, grapefruit and grapefruit skin. Powerfully rich and sweet, a little less fresh on palate than nose. Patisserie notes – a creamy sweetness of tarte au citron. L&S rating: 94  

5% of the crop lost to hail on 25 April. 80% Sémillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc – classic blend. RS 144 g/l, TA 3.8 g/l, pH 3.85. The produce of 27 different lots each fermented separately. Complex but quite withheld on the nose. Lightly honeyed, mineral and almost savoury on the nose, creamy. Spicy more than immediate fruit. Saffron? Very concentrated, intense, dense and very very long. Excellent freshness that cuts through that intensity. On the mid palate, pure apricot and citrus and grapefruit. Burst of fruit comes out of the more closed aromas. Lively even though intense. Fills the mouth but no heavy viscous feel to it. Direct and prolonged but overall creamy and gentle. I tasted the wine a second time, with both savoury and sweet foods, and it opened up considerably but remained gently elegant and creamy, with lovely freshness and still plenty of spice and persistence. 2023-2040 rating: 18 Julia Harding MW,

The 2011 has a clear silvery gold hue, perhaps not quite as deep as I recall the 2010 last year. The bouquet is very fragrant and well-defined, with scents of wild honey, honeysuckle and a touch of vanilla. It is a refined, sedate and beautifully focused bouquet that does not need to show off. The palate displays superb weight in the mouth, even though at first it seems almost understated. Yet there is clearly a high level of spicy, botrytized fruit with notes of honey, orange zest and a touch of mandarin. There is no explosion on the finish; the 2011 is rather a lesson in control, complexity and nuance. It is utterly seductive. Drink 2016-2040+. The 2011 commenced with picking on September 6, the fourth earliest in its history, although they waited until September 12 to really get going in the vineyard. The harvest was over four tries until the October 5, peaking on the last day of the second trie on September 23. There is a very low level of volatility compared to the level of residual sugar, which at 144 grams per liter is almost the same as 2010. rating: 96-98 Neal Martin’s Wine Journal,

Layered, voluptuous wine with great precision and very long finish. Same sugar levels as 2010 and in similar style with lifted acidity. Classic, majestic Yquem crafted to age for decades. Drink 2023-2062. rating: 19

A Sauternes with incredible purity and beauty. Full body, with lovely character of mangos, pineapple, papaya, and honey. Goes on for minutes. The purity in this wine is phenomenal. Spicy with dried mushroom and ash undertones. Gorgeous and clean. Bright. A more balanced 2001? rating: 97 – 98 James Suckling,

In a great year for Sauternes, this is the wine that stands out from the crowd. This was the fourth earliest vintage ever at Yquem to help retain freshness in the blend. It shows exotic spices, vanilla pod and citrus zest with notes of passion fruit and peach and a tangy, refreshing finish. A brilliant example of what the combination of investment, talent and climatic serendipity can achieve in Bordeaux. 10+ years. rating: 97  Tim Atkin MW

Blazingly pure, with pineapple, white peach, yellow apple and melon flavors that are remarkably light on their feet. Blanched ginger root, cherry blossom and light citrus notes dance through the finish. Displays awesome range and purity in a very stylish frame. rating: 96 – 99  James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator

Again, the absolute summit of the vintage in Sauternes, with fresh authority and inimitable texture. (Les Echos, April 2012) rating: 19-19.5 TAST, Bettane & Desseauve

Wow – what an extravagant and super aromatic profile! This is just brimming over with pineapple, apricot, white peach and mango, drizzled with a little honey, but lifted with fresh vanilla pod and floral scents. There is a remarkable composition here, of blended tropical fruits, positively explosive with its fresh character. A supple start, with liquid peach and mango fruit characters, yet rich, dense and textured. A very fine structure, a tight frame to it, but with an undeniable powerful substance. Good vibrant acidity, with a very fresh core. Wonderful botrytis depth here, combined with the acidity of the vintage. Stunning wine. rating: 19-20 Chris Kissack,